The Board of Education recommended to the Public School System to look into finances for second servings of meals for students during their last board meeting in the BOE office on Capitol Hill.
The BOE members noted during their previous board meeting that costs associated with second servings for students were too steep. PSS, on the other hand, promised that they would be looking at cutting costs for second servings for PSS meals
“My biggest concern here is a student has to pay $3.50…for seconds,” said BOE Rota representative Herman Atalig. “I agree to students paying [for] second servings but [at] $3.50, that is too much,” he said.
PSS federal programs officer Tim Thornburg noted that the nutritional proportions PSS serves are sufficient per age, however, he told the board that action would be taken on the issue.
“If [students] want a second serving, that is [actually] the price of a second meal,” he said. “I will see what we can do, but we really want every student eating meals,” he continued, adding that vendors prepare “just enough” daily.
Then BOE member Herman Guerrero noted that it was something that should definitely be discussed. He added that the number of students that availed of second servings should be noted and that not too many avail of second servings, for Saipan at least, Atalig emphasized.
“Not on Rota, sir,” said Atalig. “…30 percent to 40 percent of students [avail of second servings],” he added.
“I would like to recommend that it is included in the budget,” Guerrero said addressing Education Commissioner Glenn Muña, suggesting that the state education agency shoulder the second servings for students.
“We might not be able to do it with federal grants, but I think we can let the local government absorb the costs,” he said, respecting then BOE chair Marylou Ada by first seeking her approval. Guerrero added that PSS in the past had been appropriated funds to cover the cost for feeding hungry students.
“…Even if it [costs] $10,000 [or] $20,000, let’s help these kids. Because if they are hungry, we are defeating the whole purpose [of education],” he said.
The board did not vote on it specifically, however Guerrero noted that the recommendation was something that the BOE could look for in the future during fiscal year 2020 budget discussions for PSS.