District closes cafeterias to save money

School District 43, in British Columbia, will close 13 middle school lunch rooms, which it says will save $145,000.

Published in FSD K-12 Spotlight

By 
Mallory Szczepanski, Digital Production Editor

When middle school students return to school after summer break, there will be one major thing missing: the cafeterias.

School District 43, in British Columbia, is closing its 13 middle school cafeterias as part of an effort to balance its 2014-15 school year budget. This is the second year in a row the district has made cost cuts. Last year, the district slashed $12.1 million from its budget after ending the 2012-13 school year with a $10 million deficit.

The district is hoping to save approximately $145,000 from cafeteria closings. The district plans to use the money saved by the shuttering for use in educational purposes.

“We can’t afford to run middle school cafeterias anymore,” says School District 43’s Assistant Secretary-Treasurer Chris Nicolls. “All middle school cafeterias will be closing by June 30.”

Although the cafeterias will be closing, the district is looking to supplement food vending machines in middle schools, with hopes of being able to bring in more machines with a wider variety of food choices. Besides the vending machines, middle school students won’t have any other food options on school premises, leaving parents and students in charge of packing lunches every day.

The district’s secondary schools will continue to offer food options and shouldn’t see any major changes, according to Nicolls.

“We are taking a look at pricing [in secondary schools] and may push prices up,” Nicolls says. “The difficulty [we have had] is subsidizing cafeterias in middle and secondary schools. We would like to make the secondary schools more self sufficient and eliminate the subsidy we have had to supply.”

Cafeteria closings aren’t the only big changes that will be taking place during next school year. The district also cut some job positions, such as teachers, bus drivers and foodservice workers, to balance the overall operation budget. The district also is eliminating bus services for non-special needs students due to the $13.4-million deficit that it was facing for the upcoming year.

Notices were sent to parents about the removal of buses. Within that notice, a mention of the cafeteria closing was included. Nicolls says that so far, reaction of the cafeteria closing from parents and students has been muted.

“We don’t have any plans on going back and reopening middle school cafeterias in the future at this time,” Nicolls states.
 

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Maryland will begin offering weekly specials at all of its dining halls this semester, The Diamond Back reports.

The weekday specials will allow Dining Services to offer past menu items that students miss as well as new dishes students have been requesting, according to a spokesperson.

Students can find out which specials are being offered each week via dining hall table tents as well as through Dining Services’ social media. During select weeks, the specials may reflect a particular theme, such as Taste of the South.

Read the full story via...

Menu Development
salad chicken

Vegetables and grains have stepped into the spotlight, thanks to the “flipping the plate” trend, but protein is still an important part of a balanced diet. Sources including meat, cheese, nuts, and meat alternatives such as tofu and tempeh can and should still be on the plate—albeit as a side dish or topping rather than the main event.

“Whatever we do [as FSDs] needs to be rooted in the culture, and today’s culture is all about healthy eating and plant-focused meals,” says Chris Studtmann, executive chef at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. “A recipe is an idea; culture is...

Menu Development
jackfruit

It emerged as a top food trend on Pinterest’s 2017 predictions, is “the latest miracle food” according to Epicurious, and was called “a nutritional bonanza” by NPR. Jackfruit is the latest superfood garnering buzz, and Even Stevens Sandwiches has gone after the vegetarian-friendly option for a recently launched torta. Here, Culinary Director Brandon Price shares three lessons learned from adding jackfruit to the menu.

Finding the best form

Using fresh jackfruit wasn’t the answer for the chain. It has to be sourced internationally, and breaking it down cuts into labor costs. But...

Ideas and Innovation
hibachi grill cooking

We saw in 2016 that many operators were trying to have some type of display cooking in their food operation. We installed a hibachi grill this fall, and within three months we had 300 residents and guests make reservations. We also use our hibachi grill for cooking classes twice a month, where our hibachi chef Abby Kramer does an excellent job teaching different cuisines. We have received so many compliments that we have decided to get another hibachi grill for a different dining venue in 2017.

FSD Resources