2008-04-02 / Front Page

Two Archbold Schools Now Offer Breakfast

by David Pugh Buckeye Staff Writer

Now, students at the Archbold middle and high schools can get a nutritious breakfast, right in the school cafeteria.

But, so far, Sandy Babcock, Archbold Area School District food service supervisor, said the breakfast program "isn't something that has caught on.

"This morning, (Tuesday, April 1) there was nobody (for breakfast) at the high school. Typically, we'll have five to 10 kids. That's pretty much it."

Even so, the school district will begin offering breakfast next year at Archbold Elementary School, because the state requires it.

Babcock said any time the number of students applying for free or reduced-price lunches reaches 20% of the student body, schools are required to offer a breakfast program.

Last school year, she said, the percentage of students seeking free or reduced lunches was "19- point-something" percent.

This school year, the figure was 20.1%.

Even if the percentage goes down below the 20% mark, "We're still going to do it, " she said.

She said when she contacted state officials with the 2007-08 percentage, "they said, 'You will do it next year.'"

Implemented

The middle and high schools were chosen to pilot the breakfast program because it could be implemented easily, at a relatively low cost.

"We wanted to get a feel for it, to see how it would go over," she said.

The cost of labor is minimal. Babcock said one employee's workday was moved forward a half-hour to accommodate the breakfast program.

The cost is also minimal. The food, much of it pre-packaged, comes from the school commodity program.

Tuesday's breakfast was egg and sausage muffins, with fruit and milk. Other items were burritos, French toast sticks, and cereals.

The cost? For those paying full price, $1.50. Those on the reduced-cost lunch program pay 30 cents. Some can qualify for a free breakfast.

Breakfast at school started Monday, March 10.

"The first week of March was National School Breakfast Week," she said.

When the program started, it was also the week the Ohio Graduation Test was administered at AHS.

She said students thought breakfast was only offered during that week.

"The first week, there were 10 at the middle school, and 10 to 15 at the high school."

Elementary

Offering breakfast at the elementary school will be "a whole different ball game" than the middle and high schools.

Babcock said the cost will be higher, because the school must provide supervision in the cafeteria while youngsters eat.

But, she said, it's important that youngsters eat breakfast.

"We want them to understand how important it is. They need breakfast to be energized for the day. It helps with the education and their physical stamina," she said.

"There are a lot of benefits" to a healthy breakfast, she said.

Also, she said the elementary school is where there is the greatest need for a school breakfast.

At the same time, Babcock said she was excited about the fact that so few middle and high school students had taken advantage of the breakfast program so far.

"It tells me maybe there isn't a need for it here," she said.

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