Kaneland eyes hot lunch option for elementary schools
By Linda Girardi For Sun-Times Media October 14, 2013 3:42PM
Updated: November 16, 2013 6:16AM
A majority of Kaneland parents surveyed support the implementation of hot lunches for their elementary school age children.
For the past two years, district staff has been looking into the feasibility of adding a hot lunch program in the district’s four elementary schools.
On Wednesday, the Board of Education will receive details of their research, specifically the logistics and initial start-up cost for the program, as well as a proposed three-week meal plan.
The proposal is to establish a satellite program, where the lunches would be prepared in the kitchen at the former Kaneland Middle School building on Meredith Road in Maple Park. Two people employed by the district would then deliver the lunches in two separate vans and be responsible for clean-up and next day preparations.
Julie-Ann Fuchs, Kaneland assistant superintendent for business, estimated the initial one-time start-up costs for all of the associated equipment and vehicles would be approximately $110,000. Fuchs estimated the recurring expenses to maintain the program would be $150,000 annually.
The recurring costs would be offset by the revenue generated from the $2.25 per pupil cost for the meal, Fuchs explained.
She further stated in a memo to the school board that a slight modification in the elementary daily schedule may be needed because the National School Lunch Program guidelines require that students be given at least 20 minutes to eat after receiving their food.
“Currently, our elementary students have about 20 minutes for their entire lunch period,” she said.
Staff will ask for the school board’s direction on whether to continue the planning for the program. If an OK is given, a planning task force of staffers and parents would be established.
Fuchs said their research included studies on the role of nutrition on a child’s learning capabilities and academic performance. She said 587 families with elementary school age children responded to a survey on Kaneland Konnect in August and September of this year, and 75 percent expressed interest in a daily hot lunch option for their children, and 84 percent of the families said they would be willing to put money in a lunch account to pay for the hot lunch fee.