School lunches in the Newcomerstown Exempted Village School District will be changing come the start of the new school year.
The board of education approved, at its June 27 meeting, Preferred Service Meals, Inc. of Berkeley, Ill., for cafeteria/food services for the 2011-2012 school year.
Preferred Service Meals, Inc. provides fully-prepared, nutritious, individually packaged meals that go from freezer to oven to students' trays easily, safely and affordably.
"It's really a great program, and all the meals meet all government guidelines and standards," Newcomerstown Treasurer Dan Stocker said about the new school lunches. "It's also an economic way to help the cafeteria."
Stocker said over the past 10 to 12 years, the cafeteria fund has been in a deficit of $350,000.
The new pre-packaged meals will not increase the price for school lunches. Lunch for the East and West School is $2.25, Newcomerstown Middle School is $2.50, and Newcomerstown High School is $2.75.
He said the new pre-packaged meals will be one way to control waste, inventory and portion size -- and hopefully, taking the fund out of deficit spending.
Newcomerstown resident and nutritionist Lynn Russell addressed the board regarding concerns with changing to pre-packaged meals and the nutritional value in each lunch.
According to the company's website, healthy options include whole grain breads and pastas, whole grain pizzas, whole grain brown rice, fresh fruits and vegetables, and organic fruits and vegetables. They also eliminate trans fat, and reduce sodium and high fructose corn syrup in their meals.
The meals are created by classically-trained chefs and the meals are inspected daily by USDA officials.
The contract with Preferred Service Meals, Inc. is for the 2011-2012 school year, but Stocker said it can be adjusted or discontinued at any time.
"Hopefully, it will work out," he said. And it has in the Carrollton and St. Clairsville school districts.
Stocker, along with Superintendent Jeff Staggs and the board of education members, enjoyed a pre-packaged meal from the company at its May board of education meeting.
Meanwhile, three cafeteria employees, one from East School/Newcomerstown Middle School and two from the West School, were placed on the reduction in force list. However, Stocker said it was not due to the new pre-packaged meals but it is to make the cafeteria fund more cost-effective.
In other business, the board approved:
* Temporary appropriations totaling $4,605,700 with a General Fund of $3,775,000.
* Resignations of Brianna Zehnder, high school English teacher, immediately; Mike Baker, middle school ISS and Intervention, immediately; Anne Tufford, cafeteria cook, June 30; and Sally Lenhoff, yearbook advisor, immediately.
* Transfer of Marjorie Hursey from fifth grade teacher to fourth grade teacher.
* Employment of Beth Hamersley as the Federal Programs coordinator for the upcoming school year.
* Donation of $258.81 from Moose Lodge 1337.
* Early release days for the upcoming school year on Sept. 21, Nov. 23, March 7 and May 9 (all Wednesdays).
* Athletic trainer services from The Union Hospital Association for Athletic Trainer Services on an as-needed basis for the upcoming school year.
* Bus bid for a 2011 Blue Bird 72-passenger bus from Cardinal Bus Sales and Service Inc.
* Judy Everhart as a half-time high school study hall aide.
The board also denied the request of Cassandra Krebs to take a one-year leave of absence for the 2011-2012 school year.
The board will meet again on Monday, July 11 at 6 p.m. in the high school conference room.