Fats and sweets have been reduced in school cafeterias nationwide, and Belleville schools in New Jersey are a fine example of the changing nutrition landscape, as reported by Roman J. Uschak from North Jersey. At a meeting between the food services provider Pomptonian and the Belleville district, the agenda of how government regulations and the way in which the company functions was raised — a balancing act recognized by every public school in the US that shows the complex relationship between government funding, regulations, school districts and for-profit providers.
Vidovich said that Pomptonian, which is paid an annual salary by the district, had racked up some $1.2 to $1.3 million in reimbursement through the National School Lunch Program. He added, however, there were a lot of federal and state rules the food service provider had to comply with, including the prohibition of competitive food sales in school cafeterias.
The president goes on to say that the company sells the food for the benefit of the school and any money goes into the bank account of Belleville Board of Education. In the state of Belleville, Pomptonian serves 330 school related locations in the form of vending machines and cafeterias.
A contract was renewed for the fourth year in a row in 2012 between the food services and the school district. The contract means that for every meal that Pomptonian produced a fee of $.1075 would be reimbursed. In ten monthly payments the operation cost $83,500 as the school board documents from May 2013 indicated.
Furthermore, the Pomptonian has promised a profit of $15,000 per year for the district during the school year of 2013/2014. There is no lunch policy at the Belleville district like in the neighboring district of Nutley, which means that kids must stay at school in order to get their lunch as opposed to being let outside. This increases the revenues generated from the food services by a sizeable amount.
The wellness policy as dictated by the district regulations is also being executed to great effect by Pomptonian due to the fact that they no not sell food to students that has an insignificant amount of nutritional value. So food such as chocolate bars, candy and other foods high in sugar are not sold. This will go a long way towards increasing the quality of the health of the students in the district of Belleville.
Questions had arisen regarding slushie fruit drinks that are served in the cafeterias; but Vidovich pointed out that the slushies were 100 percent fruit juice, and also contained Vitamin C. He also said that the state conducted a nutritional audit of the school district every three years, and that Belleville had recently passed such an audit.