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Sources: School lunch overhaul in the works

August 15, 2012

Update 8/17/12: Walpole School Superintendent Lincoln Lynch confirmed in a video on the Walpole Patch that a lunch service overhaul is indeed in the works, and also said that the School Department is working on a transportation overhaul that could net about $100,000 to $200,000 in savings.

Two independent sources have confirmed to 180 that the Walpole School Department is planning to announce within the next month an overhaul of the Walpole school lunch service. The lunch service has been a financial headache for years and posted a $35,000 $190,000 budget deficit last year.

Maria Hall took over the lunch service as the district’s Director of School Nutrition in 2011 and has been working to reform the program since then. Hall, who has extensive experience in business, has introduced breakfast options, expanded lunch options, and centralized food purchasing.

This overhaul has apparently been in the works for several months, long before the June override election. Nevertheless, I find it amusing that one 180 source has estimated the overhaul could save the district between $100,000 and $200,000 – at a time when the school department has just come off a bitter override battle in which they insisted repeatedly that there was nothing left to cut in the budget. Then again, most of the savings would probably be reinvested in the lunch service to cope with their deficit.

One source says that the overhaul will involve all food being produced at the high school, and then being shipped to the other schools in the district to be served. Most of the cafeteria staff at the middle and elementary schools would then be cut.

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