Schools counter Obamacare with higher wages

Changes were made as result of Affordable Care Act.

June 13—A wage increase will offset a reduction in hours for food service workers in Lexington (Neb.) Public Schools.

The proposal approved by the Lexington Board of Education Monday night was developed to comply with the Affordable Care Act.

Chief Financial Officer Erin Heineman said the 12 percent pay increase has a neutral cost to the district because of the fewer hours of work, but it saves the district money. Because the workers will work fewer than 30 hours, they will not be offered health insurance benefits.
A school survey showed that 20 out of 29 food service workers were barely at or over 30 hours of work.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
vote buttons pins

On every other Thursday of our four-week cycle menu, we allow K-8 students to pick the entree choices. The media center specialist for each of the participating schools sets up the list of entree items on a computer for voting, and the winning entrees are given to cafeteria managers two weeks before the upcoming month to put into production. Students really like this, as it promotes ownership of the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chalkboard

We highlight our North Carolina products on a large chalkboard in our dining halls, and also list any produce we bring in from our own agroecology farm. It helps tell our story—positive and local.

Ideas and Innovation
raised garden beds

We have raised garden beds that residents can reserve and use to grow their own plants. Whenever a resident brings me fresh produce from their own garden, I try and incorporate it into a dish. If I do end up using it, I will display the resident’s name and what the produce was next to the dish on the menu.

Ideas and Innovation
chartwells teaching kids

Curriculum for the mobile teaching kitchen centers around a single kid-friendly recipe, using ingredients that can provide talking points for nutrition, sustainability and food origins. “The recipe is the lesson,” Saidel says. “Every ingredient is an opportunity to talk.”

Earlier this year, Saidel, Perkins and Harvey did a student demo featuring roasted chicken and white bean tacos with greens and citrus salsa. “We can say, ‘Why are we using chicken instead of beef? Why are there some beans in here?’ You can talk about plant proteins and the sustainability and health message around...

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