February 24, 2021

CCSD food services seeks to improve efficiency, nutrition and multicultural offerings in 2021-22

In her report to the Creston Community School Board, Food Services Director Tawnya Jones proposed the use of a new menu planning and nutrition program with Health-e Pro.

Jones said implementation will be a small challenge with uploading the district’s menus for accurate reporting, but the long-term benefits supersede the initial implementation challenges.

“The thing I like about it, the parents, the teachers, nurses, anybody can get on there and look at any item any time of the day ... and it gives you all the nutrition information,” said Jones.

Jones said of all the planning and nutritional tools she has looked at, it happens to be the most expensive, which is about approximately $3,800, which she said is nearly double the district’s current expense for meal planning, tracking and reporting. The district currently prepares 900 lunches and 435 breakfasts daily, which breaks down to a cost of less than $4 per student, annually.

“It’s so far above the others,” she said.

Some of the features Jones likes about the Health-e Pro program is the ability to increase efficiency with preprogramed menus and recipes, reduce over all costs with the potential of accurate reporting when it comes to reporting waste, and help the district maintain compliance with USDA approved foods. Aside from offering more than 5,000 recipes, Jones said the tool is flexible enough to permit the staff to enter its own recipes, as well.

Jones said a survey of menu offerings triggered hundreds of responses.

“The biggest response I got back was they want us to have more vegetarian choices ... and they want the more cultural meals, so I’ll have to look in to that,” said Jones. “There was a lot of good feed back on that.”

Jones said the program is also multilingual, offering the ability for its users – on campus and at home – to interact with the program in Spanish and other languages.

When it comes to meeting expectations of quality and nutrition, Superintendent Deron Stender agreed that the program has many benefits.

“With our families that have health issues, it helps them adjust that,” said Deron Stender, Superintendent. “From a food service standpoint, it now gives us a record of everything.”

No action was taken on Jone’s proposal of the Health-e Pro program.

In other CCSD school board news, the board:

• approved the sale of district property – including 3-4 buses, 1-2 cars/Suburbans, dump truck, tractor with belly mower, and other miscellaneous items. Contact Superintendent Deron Stender with questions.

• approved holding a public hearing to approve the proposed 2021-22 school calendar. The public hearing will take place 6 p.m. March 22 in the Central Office Board Room.

• approved holding a public hearing on the district’s 2021-22 budget proposal. The budget workshop for the trustees will take place 5:30 p.m. March 1 followed by a public hearing 6 p.m. March 22 in the Central Office Board Room. Once the hearing is complete, the board will vote to adopt the proposed budget.

• approved the fiscal year 2020 district audit. Additional information will appear in a future edition of the CNA. The audit is available online at https://tinyurl.com/ccsdfy20.

Creston Community School Board of Trustee’s next regularly scheduled board meetings are 6 p.m. March 22 and 6 p.m. April 19.

SARAH SCULL

Sarah Scull is a San Diego transplant now living in Creston, Iowa. Sarah joined the Creston News Advertiser editorial staff as a reporter in in 2012 and was promoted to editor in November 2018.