July 25, 2014

Elyria
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Electrical problem halts food service at Elyria Schools

ELYRIA — Monday’s power outage at Elyria High School made the preparation of meals for students throughout the district impossible because all food service functions are centralized at the high school.

The decision to centralize food services at Elyria Schools was made years ago when the new Elyria High School was under construction. When the high school was completed in 2012, the new kitchen began providing all of the district’s meals. Monday’s power outage at the school was the first time the process was interrupted.

Electricians were at Elyria High all day Monday and finally, by 7 p.m., school officials were able to say power had been restored and school would be held today. The cause of the outage is undetermined at this time.

Elyria Schools has a more then 70-percent participation rate in the free and reduced lunch program, and it provides breakfast to the elementary schools as a part of its food service program. Each day, thousands of meals are prepared, packaged and shipped to buildings across the district.

Without electricity, food service workers were unable to carry out those duties, district spokeswoman Amy Higgins said.

“Aside from this isolated problem, having a centralized kitchen has worked out very well for the district,” Higgins said. “The kitchen facilities are state-of-the-art and it is really the best solution for feeding the district.”

The decision to close school undoubtedly caught parents off guard, but changing to bagged lunches or on-site meal preparation for the schools not affected by the power failure was not an option. The schools do not have a food inventory.

“Coming up with 8,000 bagged meals at the drop of a hat cannot be pulled off, not with all the dietary restrictions to students we face every day as well as the restrictions to what the federal government expects from school lunches,” Higgins said.

Elyria is not the only district to centralize food services across the region. Lorain Schools also consolidated its food program.

Jeff Hawks, executive director of operations for Lorain Schools, said all breakfast and lunch meals are prepared at Lorain High School.

Lorain School uses Aramark Education as its food service provider. Sodexo is the food service provider for Elyria Schools.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.

  • jpreyno

    Mmm mmm Elyria City school lunch? My top four favorites are, in order
    4. Jello with the fruit in it
    3. Cheeseburger on a bun
    2. Cheese pizza square
    1. Chicken patty on a bun.

    Chick-fil-A could learn something from our school distrct.

  • Brandy Lynn

    70% are on free lunches? That numbers outrageous! Parents could have packed their kids lunch for ONE day.

    • Tommy Peel

      What about the other 30% ?

      • Brandy Lynn

        The other 30% can pack their lunches too, but probably already do lol.

        • Tommy Peel

          Probably so. lol

  • bigmacky

    build it – and it will fail – Thanks graceless

  • John Davidson

    I agree that $70 is ridiculous. Parents should get a job and stop making the other 30% pay for their kids lunches.

  • Joe Smith

    You might want to have a discussion with your English teacher.

  • Bob Sweatt

    I have seen the food at Windsor. I wouldn’t feed it to my dogs.

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  • Brandy Lynn

    If you do not like what the school provides, then don’t eat it. Simply bring your own!

  • Brandy Lynn

    You know the more I think of this free lunch BS the more I get angry. Because…the majority of those kids on FREE lunches, most likely get food stamps. Food stamps should cover the lunches the parents should be packing in the first place. So on top of food stamps you get free lunches. LJFS should factor that in, if you get free lunches for your kids, then you get LESS money in FS.