Wordware School Lunch Software LCS1000 Mayflower chooses ePayTrak 4.0

Wordware’s robust, reliable, and feature-rich School Lunch Software Mayflower LCS1000. Wordware School Lunch Software LCS1000 Mayflower chooses ePayTrak 4.0 to integrate with their new LCS1000 system. Parents can now view their balances in ePayTrak, make payments and even set auto payments based on low balance values.  EduTrak’s proven technology solutions are hard at work powering improved operational efficiency, enhanced administrative productivity and upgraded convenience at dozens of schools and service organizations across North America.
Offering education program administrators new opportunities to do more with less, our easy-to-implement, fully customizable payment, registration and resource management applications are designed from the ground up to meet the unique needs of a vast array of education organizations.
Wordware’s School Lunch Software Mayflower LCS1000  are designed to integrate seamlessly with current systems, ensuring that existing credentials, readers, and user databases can be retained. The DataBridge allows each of these programs or portals to send information back and forth. With the DataBridge, a school does not need to maintain multiple databases of the same student list, they can maintain one and sync the rest with databridge.
Currently the LCS mayflower works seamlessly with hundreds of Student Information Systems. Many of our customers use Synergy, Infinite Campus, Power School, JMC, Skyward and more. The DataBridge has worked with every SIS that we have encountered. EduTrak maintains and is actively pursuing a variety of strong business and technology partnerships including reseller relationships, technology licensing and cooperative marketing programs.

  • Eliminate the need to maintain multiple databases
  • Maintain one database and sync the rest
  • One to many and many to one
  • Facilitate information for multiple departments within the district

“Three factors separated EduTrak. They were affordable, easy to implement and incredibly responsive to our needs.” – David Wagman  PEF President

Under this best-of-breeds partnership, Wordware’s School lunch software platform is integrated with online payment gateway.  EPayTrak 4.0 Features for Families and Students. For families and students, ePayTrak 4.0 provides flexibility and ease of use:

  • Individual payment account: Users can set up their own accounts to make payments, pull payment reports, review scheduled transactions, and more!
  • Transaction history: Users can easily browse past transactions with a simple click of the mouse
  • Browse the school’s offerings: Users can bypass the login process and browse through the site, selecting classes, services, or products to place in their shopping cart. At time of purchase, they will be required to log in, or register for a new account

About Wordware

Wordware, Inc., founded in 1983 and headquartered in Mendota Heights, MN, provides software applications for cafeteria business. Wordware’s  LCS mayflower system is expandable to concessions, school store and could be integrated with Student information system, which makes perfect advance solution for your school. Wordware Inc, Lunch payment system is a simple and secure way for schools to connect, transact and manage all their school payments solutions.
Contact Us.
Corporate Headquarters:
Wordware, Inc. 2526 Northland Dr:
Mendota Heights, MN 55120;
Email: sales@wordwareinc.com
www.wordwareinc.com
call us at (800) 955-2649

About EduTrak

With offices in Wayzata, Minnesota and Boulder, Colorado, EduTrak Software is a subsidiary of Advanced Payment Technologies. Our experienced team brings more than a decade of expertise to development and delivery of ecommerce and payment software solutions.
EduTrak Software – Minnesota, 700 Twelve Oaks Center Drive, Suite 252, Wayzata, MN 55391
Toll free:  1-877-EduTrak (338-8725)
Email:
General Information: info@edutrak.com
Sales: sales@edutrak.com
Customer Support: techsupport@edutrak.com

Wordware, Inc. Announced That the Company Has Entered Into an Exclusive Partnership With FEEZEE

Wordware, Inc.  announced that the company has entered into an exclusive partnership with FEEZEE for proving online payment options to its clients in global market.

Wordware’s robust, reliable, and feature-rich School Lunch Software Mayflower LCS1000. FEEZEE is an integrated software platform that manages online payment features in many ways, its single high-security platform for any kind of business. FEEZEE allows end-users to control, manage, monitor, pay safely, prevent unwanted access, maintain compliance, and provide a robust audit trail. Secure payment processing on any device from a leading credit card payment processor.

Wordware’s School Lunch Software Mayflower LCS1000  are designed to integrate seamlessly with current systems, ensuring that existing credentials, readers, and user databases can be retained. The Wordware DataBridge is designed integrate data across multiple software applications within a School District. Our Databridge allows software applications to send information back and forth. The DataBridge allows each of these programs or portals to send information back and forth. With the DataBridge, a school does not need to maintain multiple databases of the same student list, they can maintain one and sync the rest with databridge.

Currently the LCS mayflower works seamlessly with hundreds of Student Information Systems. Many of our customers use Synergy, Infinite Campus, Power School, JMC, Skyward and more. The DataBridge has worked with every SIS that we have encountered.

  • Eliminate the need to maintain multiple databases
  • Maintain one database and sync the rest
  • One to many and many to one
  • Facilitate information for multiple departments within the district

“Wordware is excited to announce our partnership with FEEZEE, our exclusive online payment partner for School Lunch Software Solutions all over country,” said Manager  “We truly appreciate FEEZEE’s  expertise and are eager to support their growing channel partner network.  FEEZEE’s solutions, local knowledge, and experience complement our physical access product offerings for the market.

Under this best-of-breeds partnership, Wordware’s School lunch software platform is integrated with online payment gateway. FeeZee helps manage personnel access, online account management, credit card payment  etc. Wordware and FEEZEE will target customers in all kind of schools. These high customers require custom School Lunch Software with  policies that suit their individual needs and hassle-free deployments with seamless integration between software, hardware, and policies. • Easy online application • No complicated software to set up • No software or annual license fees FEEZEE Provides: • Secure, online payment processing from any mobile or internet capable device • Flexible payment options for your customers • An intuitive, easy to use interface • Reporting to help you manage payments • Customer receipts

About Wordware

Wordware, Inc., founded in 1983 and headquartered in Mendota Heights, MN, provides software applications for cafeteria sector. Wordware’s  LCS mayflower system is expandable to concessions, school store and could be integrated with Student information system, which makes perfect advance solution for your school. Wordware Inc, is the market leader in online Lunch payment system, most of the schools saves time and money using our unique and techno advance Lunch payment application software.  Lunch system makes your school to monitor money administration easier and will reduce time spent on managing the school meal service. Wordware Inc, Lunch payment system is a simple and secure way for schools to connect, transact and manage all their school payments solutions.

Contact Us. Corporate Headquarters: Wordware, Inc. 2526 Northland Dr: Mendota Heights, MN 55120; Email: Sales Information: sales@wordwareinc.com www.wordwareinc.com  call us at (800) 955-2649

About FEEZEE

FEEZEE is an easy to use payment processing solution that allows you to process credit cards, debit cards and ACH transactions with a simple interface launched right from your web site. FEEZEE does all the heavy lifting of payment processing so you can focus on the things you need to do to make your business successful. Don’t get bogged down with setting up merchant accounts, creating reports and managing software, let FEEZEE handle it and start accepting online payments today.

Solutions available for education and businesses that need to process payments electronically.Why FEEZEE? It’s easy. Contact sales@fee-zee.com, or call us at 844-5-FEEZEE (844-533-3933) for more information visit www.fee-zee.com

Changes coming to National School Lunch Program, will affect local students

The Education and Workforce Committee approved a bill to change the way the National School Lunch Program works.

However, the bill will still need a full House vote.

Right now, through a measure called community eligibility, a school’s entire student body is eligible for free lunches if at least 40 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

In Cleveland City Schools, all students eat for free – but that will change, and principal Mike Collier says – that’s disappointing.

“It’s going to impact us. I mean, there’s no way that it wouldn’t,” he said.

Right now, if 40 percent of students live in poverty, in a specific school, that school qualified for free meals for all students, paid for by the federal government.

The bill will increase that to 60 percent, meaning Cleveland Middle wouldn’t apply anymore.

Administrators at Cleveland City Schools, like Supervisor of Child Nutrition, Susan Miller, says they’ve known about since January.

“You cannot teach a hungry child. And, so, that’s what we’re here for is to make sure that every child has an opportunity to be prepared to learn everyday,” she said.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a D.C. think- tank, says millions of children across the U.S., and here in our area, are at risk of losing meal access.

The measure could potentially put students in some of the country’s poorest communities at risk for missing meals.

Principal Collier says the school system will do what they can to prevent this from happening.

“Kids are our number one priority. And one way or another – we’re gonna make sure that they have the opportunity to eat breakfast, and we’re gonna make sure they have the opportunity to eat lunch regardless of who they are and what the circumstances are,” he said.

The sponsor of the bill, Representative Todd Rokita, wants the eligibility to change to 60 percent because, he says, they’ll be able to provide summer meals and better breakfasts for those most in need.

But, opponents say some students who do qualify won’t apply because of the social stigma associated with free and reduced lunch.



The National School Lunch Program – pros, cons, and how to get your kids eating healthier

The National School Lunch Program – pros, cons, and how to get your kids eating healthier Thursday, July 16, 2015 by: Kristina Martin

The National School Lunch Program's supplies meals for over 21 million low-income, food insecure children around the country. For many, it is the only meal they will eat all day, so the USDA created specific guidelines to ensure these students are receiving the most nutritious meal possible.

New Standards for School Lunches

The latest federal program concerning standards for school meals is the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. In its original form, the law authorized the funds to extend current child nutrition programs and free lunch programs for 5 years; updated the nutritional standards to include more whole grains, fruits, veggies, and lean protein; and gave the USDA authority over schools’ nutritional standards and regulations.

Plenty of criticism has been leveled at the one-size fits all nature of the law as well as the ability of the government to dictate lunch options. The School Nutrition Association, a corporate sponsored group, has been the most vocal opponent of the act, saying that districts are unable to meet the guidelines and that students are throwing the healthier food away. Despite these claims, a Food Resource and Action Center study found that the low-income students who are the focus of the National School Lunch Program are receiving more benefits from the new law, and the USDA reports that 95% of schools have been able to meet the program requirements.

It is possible to get students to eat healthier foods. Schools who have successfully implemented healthier options have done so by slowly introducing these items to students, introducing wheat bread one day and a new vegetable a few weeks later. If no one introduces today’s kids to whole grains, different fruits and veggies, and new foods, the odds of them trying anything new greatly diminishes as they grow older. If we roll back efforts to introduce kids to healthier foods, we will leave our next generation at a serious disadvantage.

Food Education

Yes, schools have a responsibility to feed their students a healthy lunch. In a perfect world, school lunches wouldn’t require students to drink low fat milk and to prioritize grains rather than promoting the lush nutrition and healing power of vegetables and fruits.

Food education is often ignored. We have found that many young students can’t even identify common vegetables. But education can make a big difference in the quality of food a child chooses and their willingness to try new foods. How many of the schools serving local food are telling the students what they are doing and what the benefits are? Teaching children how to cook fresh food and how to plant and tend a school garden lays a foundation of healthier attitudes toward food and nutrition. But why should our schools be the only ones introducing children to healthy foods and teaching them how to eat?

Learning about food and healthy eating starts at home. There are so many ways you can get your kids excited about eating fruits and veggies and teach them how to be lifelong healthy eaters and by extension enjoy a much better quality of life. The earlier you can introduce your little one to healthy foods, the better. But even if your children have already been introduced to some of our more unsavory food items, here are some tips you can use to turn Mr. Chicken Nuggets and Pizza Girl into kale fiends:

  • Let them cook with you. Even if something is ghastly, kids are much more likely to try it and like it if they are the ones who put in the work.
  • Smoothies are a great way to slowly introduce veggies to resistant kids. A great nutrition powder can be a great addition to those.
  • Turn your little one into a gardener. Gardening will get them outside, teach them patience and responsibility, and get them excited about what they’ve created.
  • Keep offering new foods. Maybe the cauliflower wasn’t successful last time, but that’s no reason not to try it again later.
  • Lastly, be the example! This is so important, because kids are naturally interested in what adults are doing. If your little one sees you snacking on and enjoying carrots and kale chips, they are that much more likely to have positive association and be willing to try them.

Here’s an ultra healthy smoothie that’s kid approved: http://www.organiclifestylemagazine.com. For more information on healthy eating, check out the first two sources below.

Sources:

http://www.organiclifestylemagazine.com

http://www.organiclifestylemagazine.com/issue/11-80-raw-food-diet/

http://www.thelunchtray.com

http://www.npr.org

http://frac.org

http://www.fns.usda.gov

http://www.fns.usda.gov

About the author:
Kristina works at Green Lifestyle Market. A few years ago Kristina was no stranger to illness, but she decided to pursue health and vitality through natural means when she became pregnant. She quickly learned that she could prevent morning sickness and other common ailments other pregnant woman experienced with the right diet. After a healthy home birth, and a beautiful child, she never looked back. Kristina has not had so much as a cold since, and at two years old and unvaccinated, neither has her child. She’s passionate about natural health, environmental conservation, and raising her healthy baby without pharmaceuticals.




House bill would scale back number of free school meals

BY Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press




Legislation to revise school lunch program passes House committee

By News Desk | May 20, 2016

Controversial federal legislation to limit funding for subsidized school lunches and change some of the program’s nutritional standards passed a House committee on a 20-14 vote May 18, and the proposal is being hammered by critics who believe it would endanger the health of American school children.

kids-school-lunch-iphoneThe bill’s sponsor, U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN), said that his “Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016” (H.R. 5003) will save money and give schools more flexibility to meet nutritional standards.

According to a statement from the House Committee on Education and the Work Force, the bill “reauthorizes and reforms federal child nutrition programs to ensure states and schools have the flexibility they need to provide children with access to healthy meals without additional or prohibitive costs.”

H.R. 5003, if passed by both houses of Congress, would allow the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct block grant pilot projects on the state level to test alternative certification and food delivery procedures under the bill and then evaluate these projects after three years.

Under Rokita’s bill, the current requirement that free meals may be offered when at least 40 percent of the students at a given school already get some types of government help would be raised to at least 60 percent.

Democratic members of the committee and others are criticizing Rokita’s bill for what they see as a plan to cut back on the availability of free and reduced-price healthy meals for needy children.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) called H.R. 5003 “more representative of child nutrition policy out of ‘The Hunger Games’” as he tried to have the legislation renamed for that popular film. However, his proposal was voted down by the GOP-led committee.

Among the groups which have issued statements opposing the legislation are the School Nutrition Association (SNA), American Academy of Pediatrics, American Heart Association, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and the Food Research & Action Center.

SNA President Jean Ronnei stated Wednesday that while changes are needed in the school lunch program, H.R. 5003 is not the appropriate vehicle to get those done.

“Although the House bill provides a much appreciated and necessary increase to federal reimbursements for school breakfast, portions of the bill will cause irreparable harm to federal school meal programs,” she stated.

CSPI indicated support for a bipartisan Senate legislative approach instead and asserted that H.R. 5003 would return junk food to U.S. schools.

“The bill would weaken the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, allowing schools to substitute chips, sugary fruit snacks and trail mix for the fresh fruit and vegetables they now get as snacks through the program, and make it more difficult for low-income students to receive free meals,” CSPI stated.

Supporters say the bill’s estimated $1-billion savings over 10 years would be applied to other nutritional programs for children and that changing the program’s nutritional standards would result in children being offered food they actually like and will eat instead of food the government thinks they should eat.

Source:  http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/05/126489/#.Vz7GcCEppUY




The Importance of the Point of Sale (POS) System

By on

 

Point of Sale (POS) equipment is the computer-based order-entry technology many restaurants use to capture orders, record data and display or print tickets. Restaurant servers, bartenders and cashiers can all use POS systems to easily enter food and beverage orders.

POS Capabilities

The POS acts as a cash register as well as a computer. In fact, the POS can consist of multiple stations, including credit card terminals, receipt printers, display screens, hostess stations and server stations. Having a POS system in place can add convenience, accuracy and save time in busy situations. In fact, is has the ability to perform a multitude of functions, including the following:

  • Calculate cash due for every order entered
  • Record the method of payment
  • Keep track of the cash in the cash drawer
  • Create hourly and daily sales reports
  • Allow hourly employees to clock in and out
  • Calculate labor and payroll data
  • Record daily check averages for each worker
  • Keep track of menu items sold
  • Record information on repeat customers

How Employees Use POS Systems

Keep in mind that some systems work differently than others. User processes will be different depending on restaurant type and service style. The following steps represent the general process of taking an order with a POS system:

  1. The employee enters in his or her name or user code into the initial touch screen. This allows the worker to access the system.
  2. The employee begins a new order or check by entering in food items the customer orders. For full service restaurants, the employee is also able to choose a table number and add food to an existing check.
  3. The POS sends this all order information to the kitchen or bar in the form of a printed ticket or on a digital display monitor.
  4. The kitchen or bar employees read the order and make the appropriate food or beverage for the waitstaff or other employee to serve the customer.
  5. In a quick-service restaurant, the employee will read the total charge on the POS display, and collect payment from the customer. In full service, the server will bring a check, wait for payment, then enter it into the POS when the customers are finished.

Where to Set Up the POS

Touch screens can be located in many different places around the restaurant, depending on the layout and the service style. For quick-service or fast-casual restaurants, the POS systems are usually located in a visible place, often close to the front doors of the restaurant. In a full service restaurant, the POS is usually located in a discreet location so as not to interfere with the ambience or the dining experience.

Advantages of Digital Display Systems

Modern POS systems, especially those in large chain restaurants, have digital display components. Technically called kitchen display systems, also known as KDS screens or “bump screens,” the order pops up with clear information as to what food was requested, the time the order was placed, the table number and the server name. When the food is prepared and finished, the kitchen worker will hit a button on the screen, effectively “bumping” it from view and recording the time it was finished. This is an especially effective way to stay organized, communicate the status of orders, and record speed of service information.

Specific POS Configurations

You should purchase a POS for your specific restaurant type, especially if your operation has any special requirements. However, the software can typically be configured to your exact operation specifications such as your restaurant menu items and prices.

Use Your POS to Gather Marketing Data

The POS has the ability to record phone numbers, email addresses or order information, such check average per table or party size. The POS can build a database of customer information. Later, in your direct marketing campaigns, you can use this information to personalize your promotions and tailor them to specific types of customers.

What to Look for in a POS System

Every POS system differs based on its software, hardware and application. When looking for a POS system, do some research online and check out several different companies. You can even request a demo from a salesperson. Make sure the POS system you choose is one that fits your restaurant concept, service style and business needs. After all, this software can take a big bite out of your budget. When choosing the right POS system for your operation, be sure to consider the following:

  • Price and quality.

Before you buy, make sure you know your business volume and system needs so you know your money is appropriately spent. POS software can cost $2,000 or more, and the terminals themselves can be up to $5,000 per station. Extra features and add-on options like digital displays or hand-held terminals usually add dollars as well. Warranties can add yet another yearly cost. Always ask sales representatives for price quotes, including all hardware, installation, software upgrades and support before deciding if a POS system is for you.

  • Necessary hardware components.

Make sure you purchase both the hardware and the software for the POS system. Hardware includes the touch screen monitor to place at the point of sale—usually at the service counter, behind the bar or at the waiter station. Hardware also includes any necessary network servers, customer display equipment, kitchen display systems and even portable terminals and handheld devices.

  • Software to track data.

Software includes all the programs you need for the point of sale, back of the house financial and inventory reports, gift card capabilities and even customer self-service. Software can even use labor data to help you create employee schedules, making a tedious task less time-consuming.
Learn More »

  • Financial reporting capabilities.

Make sure that your POS software allows you to retrieve your financial information in detailed, coherent reports, ideally on the back of the house (BOH) terminal where you can properly analyze the information.

  • User friendliness.

A POS system that is confusing or requires extensive training may not be worth the hassle. Not only will it frustrate employees but it will slow down speed of service for customers. Also, be sure the orders are easy to read and understand. In a busy kitchen, there is no time for mistakes.

  • Technical support.

It is not a matter of if there will be a problem, but when there will be a problem with your POS system. Hopefully the problem will be minor, but just in case, it helps to know that you have experienced technicians available to help in times of crisis.

foodservice school program, foodservice school program, business lunch software, food service point of sale, foodservice point of sale, cafeteria POS program, cafeteria POS software

Opting out of school lunch program appeals as a palatable option

| Saturday, March 5, 2016, 11:00 p.m.

Students at Penn-Trafford High School aren’t buying that lunches prepared under federal guidelines that restrict calories, sodium and portions are their best option.

So they literally are not buying them.

“I would say, on average, we’ve lost about $20,000 a year each of the last five years,” Penn-Trafford business manager Brett Lago said of lunch sales since the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was enacted. “We are not in the food service industry to make money, but we don’t want to lose it.”

Penn-Trafford’s lagging lunch sales are part of a state and national trend since menu restrictions were tightened, federal statistics show. School lunch participation nationally dropped from 31.6 million students in 2012 to 30.4 million in 2014, according to the federal Department of Agriculture. Pennsylvania statistics show school lunch participation dropped by 86,950 students in the same two years, from 1,127,444 in 2012 to 1,040,494 in 2014.

As a solution to slumping sales, Penn-Trafford officials may opt its high school out of the National School Lunch Program, which limits meal choices, allowing them to put favorites like Pizza Hut pizza back on the menu.

“We’ve had some issues concerning regulations from the NSLP and how they are affecting menu selection and preparation,” Lago said. “I think (the guidelines) are very counterproductive to what they are trying to achieve.”

Lago and other critics of the federal program say it can be wasteful — requiring students to take a fruit or vegetable they don’t want and won’t eat, for instance. Limits on menu choices and reduced portions — especially for high school students used to buying unrestricted lunches — also mean fewer sales.

“I think this may be a trend, going forward: Districts are going to want to step back from the program,” Lago said.

National and state numbers show the trend is in its infancy. About 100,000 U.S. schools could participate in the program, and 524, or half of 1 percent, opted out in 2013-14, according to the most recent USDA figures.

In Pennsylvania, 34 of 858 districts pulled at least one school out of the program in 2015-16, according to USDA spokesman Chris Kelly.

A limiting factor in opting out is that districts lose federal meal subsidies when they do. Federal reimbursement rates this year are $3.07 per meal for students who are income-eligible for free lunches; $2.67 for those who qualify for a reduced price; and 29 cents for all others sold.

For Penn-Trafford — about 200 of the high school’s 1,350 students qualify for free or reduced lunches — that means a loss of about $100,000 annually in federal subsidies.

Lago said he is “cautiously optimistic” that offering a new menu at a slightly higher cost, plus increasing a la carte sales through a broader selection of foods, could compensate for the federal shortfall.

Allegheny County’s South Fayette High School used that formula to success after pulling the plug on the National School Lunch Program in the 2014-15 school year, though it had to make up only $20,000 yearly in federal subsidies. Food service director Tricia Woods said 95 percent of students now buy their lunches from the school.

“The kids love it. The percentage is high for participation,” Wood said.

Wood said much of the menu is still rooted in federal nutritional guidelines, especially those set before further restrictions called Smart Snacks in Schools were added in 2014.

“Being off the program doesn’t mean you are just going wild,” she said.

The school’s basic lunch menu price is $2.30; fruits and vegetables are provided, not mandated, Wood said.

“The biggest factors were that we have a huge amount of a la carte sales and low free and reduced lunch sales,” said finance director Brian Tony. “We have a positive food budget balance. I’m not arguing with the results.”

Manheim Township High School in Lancaster County was among a handful of schools in Eastern Pennsylvania that dropped out of the federal program in 2013. Food service directors there all said student participation lagged as more restrictions were added in each year after the Hunger-Free Act was passed.

“We were comfortable with the guidelines until 2013,” said Manheim food services director Gavin Scalyer.

But with the district’s free- and reduced-price-eligible student population growing to 28 percent, Scalyer said, even offering a lucrative and popular a la carte menu may not be enough to cover lost federal subsidies, so Manheim is considering whether to reenter the program.

“Every school district wants to ensure that students from low-income families have access to free meals at school, so dropping out of the federal program means taking on the cost of providing those free meals,” said Diane Pratt-Heavner, School Nutrition Association spokeswoman.

At private schools with few or no free-reduced lunch students — such as Sewickley Academy in Edgeworth — the decision not to participate in the federal program can be easier.

But public schools would have difficulty offering a menu of Cajun chicken pasta and beef stroganoff at a price of $5.95, as is offered at Sewickley. Metz Culinary Management, the food service provider for Sewickley, also serves Franklin Regional School District in Murrysville and Riverview School District in Oakmont, Allegheny County. Prices for lunches at those schools are $2.55 and $2.50, respectively.

“We have not been approached by any of our public school partners to move off the National School Lunch Program,” said Metz’s Jim Dickson, senior vice president of education. “However, if a public school wanted to move off the NSLP, we can still provide nutritional and wholesome meals without the federal funds and maintaining a budget.”

At Penn-Trafford, food service provider Aramark is expected to present options and costs outside the federally regulated program to the school board this month. Lago said the board likely will decide by April whether to opt out of the federal program in the fall.

“The board will decide if it makes sense to try it. We would still offer healthy lunches, but we wouldn’t be hamstrung,” Lago said.

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com.

www.wordwareinc.com

Office for Food and Nutrition Programs National School Lunch Program – Question Answers

  1. What is the National School Lunch Program? The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a federally assisted meal program operating in nearly 95,000 public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to more than 26 million children each school day. Established under the National School Lunch Act, signed by President Harry Truman in 1946, the program celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1996.The U.S. Department of Agriculture, through its Food and Nutrition Service (formerly the Food and Consumer Service), administers the program at the Federal level. At the State level, the NSLP is usually administered by State education agencies, which operate the program through agreements with local school districts. School districts and independent schools that choose to take part in the lunch program receive cash reimbursement and donated commodity assistance from USDA for each meal they serve. In return, they must serve lunches that meet Federal nutrition requirements, and they must offer free and reduced-price lunches to eligible children.

    In 1994, FNS launched the School Meals Initiative for Healthy Children to teach children the importance of making healthy food choices, and to support school food service professionals in delivering healthy school meals. Supported by legislation passed in 1994 and 1996, the initiative updated nutrition standards so that all school meals meet the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. New regulations implementing the initiative became final in June, 1995, and took effect at the beginning of school year 1996-97.

  2. What is Community Eligibility Provisions for Universal Free Meals?Eligible schools are able to streamline and improve school nutrition programs providing universal breakfast and lunch to all students through this provision.
  3. What are the nutritional requirements for the school lunch?School lunches must meet Federal nutrition requirements, but decisions about what specific foods to serve and how they are prepared are made by local school food authorities.Current regulations require schools to meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommend that no more than 30 percent of an individual’s calories come from fat, and less than 10 percent from saturated fat. Regulations also establish a standard for school meals to provide one-third of the Recommended Daily Allowances of protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, calcium, and calories.

    Schools have the option to choose one of four systems for their menu planning: Nutrient Standard Menu Planning, Assisted Nutrient Standard Menu Planning, the traditional meal pattern, and the enhanced meal pattern. Both Nutrient Standard and Assisted Nutrient Standard Menu Planning systems base their planning on a computerized nutritional analysis of the week’s menu. The traditional and enhanced meal pattern options base their menu planning on minimum component quantities of meat or meat alternate; vegetables and fruits; grains and breads; and milk.

    USDA has made a commitment to improve the nutritional quality of all school meals. The Department works with state and local school food authorities through the Nutrition Education and Training Program and Team Nutrition initiative to teach and motivate children to make healthy food choices, and to provide school food service staff with training and technical support.

  4. How does the National School Lunch Program work?Schools in the lunch program get cash subsidies and donated commodities from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for each meal they serve. In return, they must serve lunches that meet Federal requirements, and they must offer free or reduced-price lunches to eligible children.
  5. How do children qualify for free and reduced-price meals?Any child at a participating school may purchase a meal through the National School Lunch Program. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the poverty level (currently $21,710 for a family of four) are eligible for free meals. Those between 130 percent and 185 percent of the poverty level (currently $30,895 for a family of four) are eligible for reduced-price meals, for which students can be charged no more than 40 cents.Children from families with incomes over 185 percent of poverty pay a full price, though their meals are still subsidized to some extent. Local school food authorities set their own prices for full-price meals.
  6. How many schools take part in the school lunch program?Nearly 95,000 schools and residential child care institutions participate in the National School Lunch Program. Public schools or non-profit private schools of high school grade or under, and residential child care institutions are eligible.The program is available in almost 99 percent of all public schools, and in many private schools as well. About 92 percent of all students nationwide have access to meals through the NSLP. On a typical day, about 58 percent of the school children to whom the lunch program is available participate.
  7. How much reimbursement do schools get?Most of the support USDA provides to schools in the National School Lunch Program comes in the form of a cash reimbursement for each meal served.Please check our Financial Management Page for current rates.
  8. What other support do schools get from USDA?In addition to cash reimbursements, schools are entitled by law to receive commodity foods, called “entitlement” foods, at a value of 15 cents for each meal served. Schools can also get bonus” commodities as they are available from surplus stocks. Under the School Meals Initiative, USDA also provides schools with technical training and assistance to help school food service staffs prepare healthy meals, and with nutrition education to help children understand the link between diet and health.Higher reimbursement rates are in effect for Alaska and Hawaii, and for some schools in special circumstances.
  9. What types of foods do schools get from USDA? States select entitlement foods for their schools from a list of more than 60 different kinds of food purchased by USDA and offered through the school lunch program. The list includes fresh, canned and frozen fruits and vegetables; meats; fruit juices; vegetable shortening; peanut products; vegetable oil; and flour and other grain products.Bonus foods are offered only as they become available through agricultural surplus. The variety of both entitlement and bonus commodities schools can get from USDA depends on quantities available and market prices.

    About 17 percent of the total dollar value of the food that goes on the table in school lunch programs is provided directly by USDA as commodities. Schools purchase the remaining 83 percent from their own vendors. As a part of its School Meals Initiative, USDA has placed special emphasis on improving the quality of commodities donated to the school lunch program, including a great increase in the amount and variety of fresh produce available to schools.

  10. What foods are schools required to serve in a school lunch? USDA does not require schools to serve — or not serve — any particular foods. School meals must meet Federal nutrition requirements, but decisions about what foods to serve and how they are prepared are made by local school food authorities.Until the School Meals Initiative for Healthy Children, the Federal nutritional requirements for school meals had not changed significantly since the school lunch program began in 1946. As part of the initiative, USDA published regulations to help schools bring their meals up to date to meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Dietary Guidelines recommend that no more than 30 percent of an individual’s calories come from fat, and no more than 10 percent from saturated fat.

    The new regulations require schools to have met the Dietary Guidelines by school year 1996-1997, unless they received a waiver to allow an extension for up to two years. They also establish a standard for school meals to provide one-third of the Recommended Daily Allowances of protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, calcium, and calories. Schools’ compliance with both the Dietary Guidelines and the RDA’s is measured over a week’s menu cycle.

    Schools have the option to choose one of five systems for their menu planning: NuMenus, Assisted NuMenus, traditional meal pattern, enhanced meal pattern, and other “reasonable approaches.” Both the NuMenus and Assisted NuMenus systems base their planning on a computerized nutritional analysis of the week’s menu. The traditional and enhanced meal pattern options base their menu planning on minimum component quantities of meat or meat alternate; vegetables and fruits; grains and breads; and milk. The fifth menu option allows schools to develop other “reasonable approaches” to meeting the Dietary Guidelines, using menu planning guidelines from USDA.

  11. How many children have been served over the years? The National School Lunch Act in 1946 created the modern school lunch program, though USDA had provided funds and food to schools for many years prior to that. In signing the 1946 act, President Harry S Truman said,

    “Nothing is more important in our national life than the welfare of our children, and proper nourishment comes first in attaining this welfare.”

    About 7.1 million children were participating in the National School Lunch Program by the end of its first year, 1946-47. By 1970, 22 million children were participating, and by 1980 the figure was nearly 27 million. In 1990, an average of 24 million children ate school lunch every day. In Fiscal Year 2011, more than 31.8 million children each day got their lunch through the National School Lunch Program. Since the modern program began, more than 224 billion lunches have been served.

    For more information please visit the National School Lunch Program website.

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England replicates Finland’s school lunch system

Finland’s free school lunch system is gaining attention around the world.

Finland’s free school lunch system is gaining attention around the world.
Lehtikuva / Markku Ulander

Next autumn, England will begin providing free school lunches to children aged between four and seven. The inspiration behind the decision came from Finland’s nearly 70-year-old school food system. Also Scotland will provide free school lunches from the beginning of next year.

An adviser to the project has been the internationally renowned Finnish public health expert Pekka Puska. In addition the Finnish Embassy in London and the Foundation for the Promotion of Finnish Food Culture ELO have set up a school food network designed to encourage British people to develop their country’s school meals. According to the ELO foundation, the transformation of the English school lunch has been long awaited.

The effects of free school lunches were studied in London between 2009 and 2011. A healthy, regular school meal improved learning results as well as children’s behaviour. These research results encouraged the creation of a more thought-out school food plan that is based on the Finnish system.

— The phones have hardly stopped ringing here in Finland. The free school lunches we offer all our school children are a unique phenomenon in the world. England’s school food plan has its own chapter dealing with Finnish school meals and health improvement achievements, says Pekka Puska.

Finnish school meals have also raised interest in other countries.

— Our foreign visitors have always loved what they have seen and experienced here, say both Päivi Palojoki, Professor of Home Economics Pedagogy at the University of Helsinki, and Marjaana Manninen, Counsellor of Education in charge of developing school food at the Finnish National Board of Education.

www.elo-saatio.fi

www.finemb.org.uk

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