Alvarado ISD students on the reduced meal program will be eating for free next school year.
The AISD board of trustees approved making the reduced price meal rates for both breakfast and lunch free for the 2014-15 school year at last week’s regular board meeting.
“Because we’re in good financial shape and we’re at a healthy fund balance for child nutrition we felt this was something we could do,” Assistant Superintendent of Operations Mark Ratcliff said.
In recent years, AISD has done financially well in their child nutrition fund balance so that they were able update the kitchen facilities at the campuses to offer students a variety of options when it comes to eating meals.
Some of the 2013-14 accomplishments include a made-to-order deli at the high school, fresh fruit and vegetable cart at the elementary and intermediate schools and new equipment.
The CN fund balance continues to be at a healthy level. Ratcliff said he is happy the district is able to offer free lunch to students on a reduced meal program. At AISD, 62 percent of the student population on free or reduced meals.
“When we have a high population of free and reduced students we want to serve those kids in the best way we can,” Ratcliff said. “Education is a service industry and we’re excited anytime we have an opportunity to provide more service.”
AISD Director of Food Services Jack Aspinall said to have a healthy CN fund balance you have to know your customer. Aspinall also works for Chartwells, a school dining service that partners with school districts to provide nutritional meals to students, and his primary responsibility is to survey the customer — the student.
“We go to the students and see what they like and what is acceptable to them,” Aspinall said. “We use that information and find healthy but tasty options for children while being cost effective.”