NIS BLOG: Giving Thanks

The nutrition initiative has a new focus

With Thanksgiving coming up, I thought that this is the time I need to make some important and very hard decisions.  It was difficult, but I decided to resign
from the District Wellness Committee as well as the Nutrition Advisory
Committee, a committee that was started due to my initiative.   I know, based on some of the comments that I receive on this blog, that some of you are probably thinking “Finally, she gave up”.  Well, sorry but not exactly.  I have given up on wasting my time by continuing to look  hypocritical in a district by being part of a committee called “the Nutrition Advisory Committee” that was adding things like cheese steaks, hot dogs, bosco sticks, french fries and onion rings to the menu.  We all know that none of these things are nutritional foods.  I realized that all of the hard work over the last two years of many dedicated parents was turning into a game of deceit, and I did not want to play that game.

It is sad, to me,  that Upper Dublin, being the great district that it is in so many ways, cannot seem to recognize that we have a problem.  Although, I would like
to say the problem is only in regards to recognizing nutritional food from non-
nutritional food, it is more than that.  It is not paying enough attention to a two million dollar budget.  The financial information continues to be scattered and inaccurate.  Questions regarding numbers are never answered, and yet…that is OK.  The public never knows ALL of the information, and whether the school board actually knows is debatable as well.  Here is what I do know, the Food Service budget is not part of the normal school budget, it is a separate entity and is approximately 2 million dollars per year. I have yet to be at any meeting where the information presented is accurate and the questions regarding certain numbers are answered.  As a matter of fact, those of you that have
been so critical of this initiative, may end up thanking me.  This nutrition initiative is the only reason that the numbers in the Food Service budget are now being looked at in more detail, although we have been told that they have never really separated things out in Food Service.

To give you some insight:  When asked to see all of the purchasing information and individual school sale information, we were put in a room with boxes.  These boxes, in some cases, were not complete, and in others were so unorganized that it would take months to go through them all.  Due to the initiative, we helped Food Service to now have identification keys on the register to help with more accurate reporting.  Later we were told that some of these keys were not  working.   For example, there was a smoothie day at an elementary school.  It was subsidized entirely by a parent on the NIS committee, and all of the profits
went to the school.  Tickets for the smoothies were purchased at the cash register and then submitted as the child received the smoothie.  No cash was taken at the smoothie table, only at the cash register.  At the end I counted up every ticket (twice) and my count was about 30 more than the count that the registers had.  When I informed the Food Service director of this discrepancy, her response was “we need to just go by what the register says”.  I would have liked to research this more, to see what happened.  My point is, do we know that the numbers are accurate…who is checking?  Are there outside audits?  Which brings me to another very important point:  A right to know request was filled out over a year ago, and still to this day we do not have all of the information requested.

With the near future having threats of major budget cuts and possibly affecting programs that are important to the kids, I really think we need to be paying very close attention to every budget and getting answers to those questions that seem to be ignored.   Money in every budget is important, as many of you have pointed out.

So, although I have given up on being a part of the deceit, I have not given up on getting the answers that all of us deserve to have as parents and tax payers.  As I said, you may end up thanking me for this.  As the saying goes, “show me the money”.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jodi Hallen November 14, 2012 at 08:24 PM
One of the board members said at the board meeting that information can be interpreted in many different ways and that the new menu items in the elementary schools are "revamped and nutritional" .... Please... Share how onion rings and bosco sticks are nutritional and that elementary school children should be back to eating that over baked and unprocessed foods?


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