By NICOLE ANTONUCCI
FONDA -- Several changes are in the works for the Fonda-Fultonville Central School district breakfast and lunch programs.
On Monday, the district board of education discussed offering a new breakfast program which, while successful in the middle and elementary schools, is lacking sales from the high school.
"The program is supporting itself but it takes the middle and the elementary program to support what we are doing at the high school. The high school program is not selling enough meals to offset the labor and food costs," Darla Sanford, the district's food service manager, told the board during a presentation about the breakfast and lunch programs.
While it is a normal trend for students to opt for alternative breakfast options once they reach high school, Sanford said in FFCS a sit-down breakfast is only offered in the middle school. This may be attributing to the declining interest as high school students don't want to be associated with the middle school once they grow older, she said.
Instead, Sanford suggested the district offer an express breakfast in the high school to allow students to get cereal, muffins, french toast sticks, etc.
"We find the high school students don't want to sit down and eat. They want to stand and socialize with their friends," Sanford said, adding the sit-down breakfast would still be available to those students who want it.
Board member Dennis Egelston asked if there would be any difference to the district whether the breakfast program changed but district treasurer Carey Shultz said right now the district is losing money at the high school level.
"We are bleeding at the high school, so we are not gaining anything," Shultz said. "Doing it express might create more sales."
"No matter how you sugar-coat it, the high school breakfast program is a loser," he said. "Trying to change it may be something worthwhile."
Sanford said the district needs only 10 percent participation to offer a breakfast program. Since it is offered as a K-12 program, the middle and elementary schools sustain it.
Board member Mary Frollo recalled the district had once offered a similar express program in the high school several years ago and asked if was utilized more.
Shultz said it was very successful, although it offered different menu items.
Board president Matthew Sullivan supported the new program.
Board member Michael Lewis suggested a menu survey be sent to the students to get an idea of what items to offer.
"This way we ware not throwing darts on what is going to work," he said.
In addition, Sanford said there are federal changes being made to both the breakfast and lunch programs in terms of reducing calories and sodium to offer healthier options.
Sanford said the students should see no impact since the district lunch program already offers healthier options.
"Students who get a reimbursable lunch have to take a fruit and a vegetable," she said. "We push fresh fruit from local orchards. The students usually choose the fresh fruit before the canned fruit."
Unlike the breakfast program, the lunch program is successful with 67.7 percent of students participating.
Superintendent Raymond Colucciello said approximately 38 percent of the students are part of the free or reduced lunch system.
"We want to make sure those students who qualify eat the lunch," he said. "That is something the administrators work with the families about."
Sanford said to limit the amount of food that goes to waste, she monitors what food items are being bought and how much of it is going in the trash.
However, 67.7 percent participation is a huge percentage, she said.
"It's a great sign," Colucciello said. "They like the food."