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Thu., Aug. 27
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Potsdam serving approximately 200 lunches less per day


POTSDAM - Potsdam Central officials told Congressman Bill Owens Monday that changes in school lunch regulations have led to a reduction of approximately 200 lunch sales per day in the school district, a trend that could lead to $100,000 less in revenue than the cafeteria collected last year.

It’s an issue that has raised concerns for some school board members.

J. Patrick Turbett asked if there was a potential for staffing cuts if the reduction in the number of meals being served and prepared continues, resulting in a decrease in revenues

“That’s one of our concerns,” Superintendent Patrick H. Brady said.

Business Manager Laura Hart said while the district may be looking at $100,000 less in meal sales she’s hoping that some of that can be made up for in a la carte sales.

“Can we do that?” Board President Christopher C. Cowen asked.

“We can this year, but we can’t next year,” Mrs. Hart said.

Board of education member Frederick C. Stone Jr. noted that with fewer meals being prepared the cafeteria’s expenses should also decrease.

“We’re keeping a close eye on it,” Mrs. Hart said.

Another concern was raised by board member Thomas W. Hobbs.

“I don’t think the kids are getting enough to eat,” he said.

The smaller portion sizes, also led Mr. Cowen to note that while the district is serving 200 fewer meals per day, the actual decrease in individual students served may be even more.

“These numbers are probably skewed, because a number of students are buying two or three lunches” he said. “That’s not necessarily the number of students eating lunch.”

Mr. Cowen said he understands the regulations are a federal mandate, but he’s worried about the impact it’s going to have on the district.

“It may be a federal mandate, but we’ve got a serious problem here at Potsdam,” he said.

When asked how Potsdam’s numbers this year compare to other districts in the area, Mr. Brady said at this point exact details aren’t available, but Potsdam is not alone.

“There’s a number of articles out there,” he said. “Schools from all over the country are facing this.”

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