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Houghton-PT mulls nutrition standards

September 18, 2012
By GARRETT NEESE - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - Houghton-Portage Township's Board of Education heard an update on the things the district is doing to meet new federal nutrition standards.

The new standards include lower limits for calories, a limit on sodium, more whole grains, fat-free milk, whole grains and a half-cup of vegetables.

The sodium will be reduced in stages. For kindergarten through fifth grade, the lunch targets for 2014-15 are 1,230 milligrams for lunch and 540 milligrams for breakfast. The final target in 2022-23 drops to 640 milligrams for lunch and 430 milligrams for breakfast.

In most cases, the district is already on pace to meet the requirements, said head cook Shelby Turnquist.

"We're pretty much in guidelines with everything else except the sodium right now, and the calories, and that's going to come along as manufacturers come out with new products," she said.

The district recently added the "rainbow vegetable bar," which has an array of vegetables and fruits.

From about $300 per week on vegetables years ago, the district spends about $2,000 now, Turnquist said.

"The kids are getting really good at taking it without even thinking about it," she said.

Turnquist is making the lunch plans with the help of a computer program that gives her a notification if any of the plans run afoul of the nutritional guidelines.

In other action, the board:

heard an update from elementary school Principal Patrick Aldrich. The elementary school has 638 students as of Friday. He has heard no complaints so far about all-day kindergarten. The Michigan Cybersafety Initiative will have a meeting for parents at 6:30 p.m. tonight in the auditorium on ways to keep children safe on the Internet. Students at the elementary and middle schools will also get a presentation Wednesday. The elementary school will have an open house on Sept. 27.

heard an update from high school principal Julie Filpus. Students have finalized their schedules. There are 437 students at the high school.

heard an update from Superintendent Doreen Klingbeil. The district should be in line to meet the next round of best practices requirements; however, the district will only receive $52 per student instead of $100.

The district also has three students from the former BRIDGE Alternative High School.

heard an update from high school student president Rebecca Collaer. There will be a luncheon at the Mine Shaft & Rock House Grille complex for the high school's 33 new students.

discussed acquiring another vehicle for school use.

hired Anna Bradfish as the high school special education teacher.

approved a contract with the Western U.P. Substance Abuse Services Coordinating Agency for continued participation in the employee assistance program.

went into closed session to discuss negotiations. No action was taken when the board resumed.



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