|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - April 2009
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
Area schools get grants to upgrade food service
Polk County Enterprise - April 2009
AUSTIN – Amid rising economic turmoil, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples is working hard to make sure stimulus dollars are used to benefi t Texas school children and Texas schools. The Texas Department of Agriculture received more than $11 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to replace food preparation equipment in schools. Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples wants to ensure swift action is a priority when applying for, awarding and utilizing these grants. “It is my fi rst priority to ensure any dollars allocated to the Texas Department of Agriculture are used effi ciently and have the greatest impact to the eligible recipients,” Commissioner Staples said. “Schools can use this money to replace old, worn-out equipment and make sure our children are receiving healthy meals. These funds will go a long way toward improving the nutritional offerings in schools.” To be eligible for funding, school districts must participate in the national school lunch program; priority will be given to schools with a majority of students eligible to receive free or reduced-cost meals. Funds must be used to improve the quality, safety and effi ciency of delivering meals. Schools can use the money to replace, upgrade or update equipment. “We are eligible and have applied for the grant,” Onalaska I.S.D. Secretary to the Administrator Ashley Porter said. “We have a vast array of needs in our cafeterias however, we are operating over and above where we are required to be.” Eligible schools can purchase new equipment aimed at improving production of healthy food for students. These funds cannot be used to purchase equipment such as a deep fryer that does not meet the goal of providing a healthier diet for students. “I think this is a fabulous opportunity for school districts,” Beth Wallace, Food Service Director of Comal Independent School District said. “Livingston ISD is currently working on the paperwork necessary to apply for this grant and believe that we meet the qualifi cations,” Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Janan Moore said. We would love to be able to take advantage of this program to continue to serve our kids nutritious meals every day and to update our kitchens.” Eligible school districts can apply beginning April 1 and can fi nd more information at Squaremeals. org. TDA administers the nation’s largest school lunch and breakfast program.