Letters to the editor
To Cindy Ramunno, education correspondent for the Daily: Thank you for taking time each week to report the events taking place in our school district. It’s informative and necessary to parents who want to stay involved in their children’s education.
Recently you wrote an article regarding the school district’s perspective on the importance of exercise and nutrition. Unfortunately, it left out a vital piece of information regarding policy and procedure.
All of the elementary school cafeterias sell snacks for children to purchase. The vast majority of the snacks offered are complete junk food. Some of the fares offered are Doritos, Oreos, Hot Cheetos, brownies, ice cream sandwiches, and Rice Krispy treats. Last spring we invited Ray Edel, food services director for Eagle County School District, to address a group of parents who felt the choices were inappropriate.
Mr. Edel informed us that these snacks were necessary because they sold well and the income generated from these sales helped offset the financial loss we suffer on the hot lunch program. We were also told that under state guidelines, anything could be sold in the cafeteria ,provided the first ingredient was not sugar. Healthy snacks in addition to the junk food have been offered in the past and have not sold.
At this meeting, we offered our help in searching for alternative distributors who would stay within our fiscal guidelines, but only if all the junk food was removed and healthy alternatives put in place. Mr. Edel felt this would not make sense financially and could possibly increase the cost of hot lunches as a result.
The majority of the staff at our elementary school mandates only healthy snacks may be brought into the classroom for consumption at break time. During CSAP testing, a list of approved and supported foods is sent home for families to utilize. At each grade level an education unit is prepared each year regarding good nutrition and healthy food choices. All of us have witnessed students come into the cafeteria and access strictly junk food for lunch. There isn’t a study out there that condones or supports this method of nutrition for optimum learning. Isn’t it about time we practice what we teach these children?
The cost of hot lunches increased this year without any change in the snack schedule. Our hot lunch price is one of the highest in the state even compared to similar resort communities.
What of the potential income being lost by the children who cannot purchase classroom snacks from the cafeteria? Removing the junk food from the school has very, very few possible negative side effects, while opening up the possibility of a whole lot of positive effects. We find it hard to believe that any student given the choice to purchase a snack of Go-gurt, string cheese, pretzels, Gold Fish, Nutrigrain bars or fruit roll-ups is going to opt to purchase nothing.
Our offer to help Mr. Edel find alternative snacks and stay within budget still stands, but please let’s not confuse good nutrition with money making.
From the following parents of Red Hill Elementary School: Jackie Rindy, Teresa Cirkovic, Julie Claydon, Kelly Madrid, Debra M. Dutmer, Rachael Messerich, Jennifer McLeod, Terri Daley, Kim Pomales, Kim Evancho, Heidi Shelley, Krista Mayne, Jennifer Reynolds, Cappie Green, Kim Denning, Kathy Wollert, Valerie Gordon, Ron Denning,