School food service workers recognized

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 19, 1999

ERIK SANZENBACH / L’Observateur / September 19, 1999

RESERVE – School cafeteria employees were honored at Thursday’s meeting of the St. John Parish School Board. Terry Charles, director of School FoodServices, handed out plaques to 12 food service employees for their participation in a statewide pilot program to improve the diets of school children.

The program, sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture School Meals for Children, involves the development of a three-week cycle menu that could be used throughout the state.

Two years ago, when the USDA came out with new nutritional guidelines, they told the states that school lunch programs must comply with the new guidelines by the year 2001. The state of Louisiana began a pilot programto test out the new menus and reassure the USDA that the state was meeting the guidelines.

After studying menus from school systems all over the state, Louisiana implemented a test program. Of all the school systems in the state, onlyseven agreed to participate. In St. John Parish, Fifth Ward Elementary andLaPlace Elementary were chosen to try out the three-week cycle of menus.

Clark said that the meals are a big success and will probably be used by the rest of the state.

“They are very tasty,” Charles said, “with lots of vegetables and grain, and they are low in fat and sodium.”Because of the need for fresh vegetables and ingredients, there is some extra cost involved.

“We do have a somewhat inflated cost,” said Charles. “But that is not aconcern of ours. We want to make sure the children are eating healthymeals.””Besides,” continued Charles,”with a standardized menu we know exactly what is being used, and in the end, we save more money.”The state awarded plaques of appreciation for the food service employees’ hard work and dedication to the new menus.

Honored from Fifth Ward Elementary School were Ellis Perrilloux, Louise Tuircuit, Judy Greene, Doris Robinson, Karen Washington and Betsy Cook.

Honored from LaPlace Elementary School were Joanne Boudreaux, Brenda Frais, Marie Tassin, Joycelyn Hart, Kathy Gueret and Annabelle Ockman.

In other school board business, Felix Boughton, director of Business Operations, recommended the school system stick with its present leasing plan for a mainframe computer. The lease, which expires in October,prompted the school board to look into purchasing or leasing another computer. However, after a summer-long study with school boardemployees and a computer engineer from Dupont, it was decided that it would be cost-effective for the school board to re-new the lease/purchase agreement with Unisys. The new lease would get a new,faster Unisys mainframe with upgraded software for $455,000.

The search committee looked at other systems, but they were all in excess of $500,000.

School Board President Richard DeLong said, “I talked to the Dupont engineer, and he said to replace our system with something new would cost in excess of $1 million.”The school system would own the computer at the end of five years. Theschool board accepted the plan unanimously.

In another matter, school board member Felix LeBoeuf asked that Superintendent Chris Donaldson research new state legislation that asks each school district to enact teacher pay incentive programs in which teachers would get raises if they didn’t use their sick leave.

LeBoeuf is concerned over who is covered by this new law.

“How are we defining teachers?” LeBoeuf asked. “Do principals,administrators and counselors get the incentive pay raise, too, or just certified teachers? I want to make sure that everybody who is entitled to the raise gets it.”

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