Max Huppert, director of Nutritional Services for Steamboat Springs School District, was advocating the cost of lunch be increased to $4 at the high school but scaled it back to $3.50, only 50 cents more than last year.

File photo

Max Huppert, director of Nutritional Services for Steamboat Springs School District, was advocating the cost of lunch be increased to $4 at the high school but scaled it back to $3.50, only 50 cents more than last year.

Planned lunch price increase is reduced

Meals to be $3.50 at middle and high schools, up only 50 cents

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Visit www.steamboatschoolfood.com for more information about the district’s Nutritional Services program or to see August and September lunch menus.

— Lunch prices at Steamboat Springs High School will increase only 50 cents to $3.50 during the 2010-11 school year, instead of the $1 increase previously planned by Nutritional Services Director Max Huppert.

Huppert said Tuesday that he scaled back the increase after recalculating what it would cost to make the lunch program support itself, based on his projection of the number of students who would eat lunch this year at the district’s schools.

The price is the same as the increase at Steamboat Springs Middle School. Lunch prices at Soda Creek and Strawberry Park elementary schools remain unchanged from last year at $3.

In addition to reducing the increase at the high school, Hup­pert said the district wouldn’t serve locally produced beef and bison this year, which it began offering last year. He said trying to make the lunch program self-supporting would prevent him from achieving his goal of preparing nearly all meals from scratch in an effort to provide healthy meals.

“We’ll keep trying to make as much from scratch as possible,” he said. “The more kids eat, the more money we’ll get, the more will go toward food.”

Huppert added that he had three fewer staff members for next school year compared with last year, another measure to help him stay within his budget.

During a presentation last week, Huppert told Steamboat Springs School Board members that he was raising lunch prices to pay for the food to make all-scratch meals and to make the program self-supporting.

Only School Board member Laura Anderson opposed the price increase during the meeting.

Steamboat Finance Director Dale Mellor said $23,000 was needed from the district’s general fund to subsidize the lunch program for the 2009-10 school year. But Mellor said the books haven’t been closed on last year and that he expects that number to decrease.

Mellor said during the 2008-09 school year, which was Hup­pert’s first, the lunch program stayed within budget. That’s in contrast to the general fund’s support of the program in previous years. He said about $116,000 subsidized the lunch program in 2007-08 and that it was about $120,000 from being self-supporting in 2006-07.

“Max has really come a long way toward balancing that budget,” Mellor said.

Huppert said after the school year starts and he has a better idea about how many students are eating lunch, he could determine how much he’s able to make from scratch and whether the locally produced products could return to the menu.

But don’t expect a return to processed foods in Steamboat.

Huppert posted August and September lunch menus from the schools on the district’s Nutritional Services website, www.steamboatschoolfood.com.

During the first week at the high school, for example, students can choose from Szechuan-style spare ribs with rice and a side of Asian vegetables one day and Mediterranean chicken with rice pilaf and a Tunisian carrot salad another. Those choices are in addition to daily fare, including hamburgers, pizza, pasta, hot and cold sandwiches and hot dogs.

Similar meals will be offered at the middle and elementary schools.

Comments

babette dickson 4 years, 4 months ago

That is one of the good reason I look forward going back to work...... Max' cuisine!!!!! MMmmmm!

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 4 months ago

And Babette's post raises an interesting question: With fewer students eating lunch, is Max catering towards school district staff instead of the students?

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Carrie Requist 4 years, 4 months ago

My kids love Max's food. Before he came to the district, we made lunch from home just about everyday. Now, they all want to eat the school lunches. It is great that the food is so good, healthy and tasty.

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max huppert 4 years, 4 months ago

Scott your so silly, Staff can buy a meal the same as the students and since they like the quality of the food we have more staff buying lunch. Parents are also welcome to eat lunch with their children and buy a meal from us as well. I would hope to see you more Scott. All the comments we get from the students is positive, so we feel its a win win for everyone.

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babette dickson 4 years, 4 months ago

Scott. I invite you for lunch at the High School as soon as school starts, you'll be my guest and I will be delighted to share with you our obvious differences. As my guest, please pick your day. Lunch is usually around 11:45AM, and we are going back full swing on 25 August. R.S.V.P. as a post is fine.

And yes like Carrie's family, I don't waste my time preparing my own lunch anymore. Max feeds us too well, I can't compete.... and I am freaking French by the way.... For me, it says a lot about food quality!~ I am soooo picky and still soooo European after 20 years in the USA>!

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addlip2U 4 years, 4 months ago

My child is no longer at school, but as a taxpayer, I would love to be able to reap the benefits and enjoy the school lunch prepared by Mr. Huppert. Could the Pilot publish weekly menu so that I can come for lunch?

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dave reynolds 4 years, 4 months ago

My daughter is a Junior at the High School..she used to eat tghe pizza bar now it is the lunches nice work Max

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Jeff_Kibler 4 years, 4 months ago

Are reservations required? Do they have a to-go menu? At these prices I'm done cooking.

However, if that's farm-raised color-added salmon in the file photo above, I'm canceling my reservation.

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max huppert 4 years, 4 months ago

no it was a whole salmon from Alaska, I am with ya about the dye thing. Jeff I wish we could do delivery.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 4 months ago

I am not doubting that the food is good or desirable. I am just pointing out that according to the district that number of meals served to students has declined despite near universal agreement that the food is better. And so I wonder if items like rice pilaf is something actually that the kids like or something more enjoyed by staff.

Basically, the part of the district food program story that is unexplained is why the decline in meals served to the students.

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bandmama 4 years, 4 months ago

Scott, do you have a student in the district? Have you a better menu that the kids would eat? If so, please tell us. You were one of the first to point out that everyone is going through tough times, why are you so against the kids having one good meal, prepared well, a day? Why do you hate the children?(dripping sarcasm..) And think of the extra dollars that are there paid for by the staff? Instead of them paying more elsewhere, why not keep the money within the school? Why shouldn't the staff, who put up with all the other crap not be served the same good food at an extremely LOW cost? They dont make a lot if you haven't noticed. The decline is in relation to the times, where else can you get a good balanced meal for three fifty? The kids cant get a good balanced meal at McDonalds for that. Neither can the adults. If you need someone to point out in detail the decline in meals served, you aren't as well informed as you try to appear. All about the money. Serve it and they will come. For $3.50 I would rather my kid have a good grain based meal without the fat and fake meat from McDonalds that tastes good. AND they dont have to leave campus to get it.

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addlip2U 4 years, 4 months ago

Scott, us non-students would be happy to come in for lunch just to support this great meal program. Seriously, forget the local restaurants, we are going to school.

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 4 months ago

I do have a child that goes to a SB elementary school and she tells me that she and her friends don't like the cafeteria food for various reasons. To me the reasons sound like the differences between food for kids vs adults. I don't feed her white bread, but I accept that whole grain is a tough sell. Or that macaroni with a creamy mild cheddar sauce is enjoyed more than more adult style macaroni with pieces of different types of stronger flavored cheese.

I have not spent time in the cafeteria talking to the kids trying to figure out if recipes with good ingredients can be adjusted to be more popular with the kids. Which is the point of my questioning why the number of meals served is down. Honestly why. Is the food loved by the kids, but mommy and daddy can't afford it? Or what? If a child insisted that something was so good that they really wanted to eat in the cafeteria that day then I doubt there are many parents that would say no. So I am concerned that the menu is not connecting with the kids.

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bandmama 4 years, 4 months ago

Scott- the increase of price was not aimed at the elementary schools. I have a theory in response to your question....you give cash to a high school kid and assume that they buy cafeteria food with it, doesn't alway mean they will. They are allowed to leave campus, and spend that cash on something else which may not always be food. (It is Steamboat, come on, teenagers, extra cash, open lunch...) But if they are tempted by good food they might stay on the campus and actually eat. I still say $3.50 for lunch is a fair price. We moved here in when my son started 4th grade. The district we moved from was then charging three buck for processed nasty stuff that yes the kids would eat but wasn't good for them, tons of starch and empty calories and breaded chicken parts. My son is a senior this year and the difference in the food quality is fantastic. I am only paying 50 cents more for decent lunches that my son eats and enjoys.

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