School boards asked to reconsider decision on milk break

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 6/2/98.

Mel Kunstleben and Lou Reeck asked the Paynesville Area School Board to reconsider dropping the morning milk breaks at the elementary school during their meeting Tuesday night.

ďPaynesville is a dairy community and milk is an important part of our daily nutrition,Ē Kunstleben said. ďWe feel the district should continue milk breaks for all grades at the elementary school, not just lower grades.Ē

Kunstleben said bulk milk tastes better out of a plastic container rather than a cardboard box. He informed the board that cartons are becoming obsolete and encouraged them to order milk in small individual plastic containers. ďThe plastic bottles are available in stores, so why canít schools obtain them as well?Ē he asked. Through the Minnesota Dairy Council, of which he is a member, Kunstleben said he would research the availability of individual plastic containers for the district.

Mrs. Reeck stressed the importance of milk for students nine to 18 years old. ďAccording to various studies, this age group needs more milk daily than five to eight-year-olds,Ē she informed the board.

Barb Koehn, food service manager, informed the board that from Sept. 1 to December, the students consumed 49,000 less glasses of milk this year with bulk milk than last year with carton milk. ďThe students are asking for cartons back as they are easier to carry and bulk milk is inconvenient,Ē she added.

Superintendent Howard Caldwell stressed we are living in a convenience society.

Kunstleben said in 1983 a group of parents went around and gathered donations for the milk program. This lasted for three years, then the school district started subsidizing the program.

ďNobody on the board questions the value of milk,Ē Maurice Dosdall, board member, said. ďBulk milk may cost less, however, when the extra labor it requires is figured in, bulk milk is more expensive than carton milk.Ē

Kunstleben and Reeck encouraged the board to take a survey of the students to see what they would rather drink-bulk or carton. ďWe urge you to keep milk in the budget and not to cut back milk breaks,Ē Kunstleben said.

The board discussed the idea of a survey but no decision was made.

In other business:
• The board reviewed budget adjustments as presented by Caldwell. ďWe needed to fine tune the budget due to an increase in wages and changes in various expenditures,Ē Caldwell said. The budget for 1997-98 showed expenditures exceeding revenue by $983,163.

• The board approved a five-year capital expenditure/facilities plan. Major items included in the 1998-99 facilities needs list are paving the road by the softball fields, roof replacement at the elementary school, ceiling replacement on the west wing of the elementary school, boiler repairs, and new student desks at all three levels.

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