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Palmyra students will have options for healthier snacking

By Chris Sholly, Lebanon Daily News, Pa.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Aug. 09--PALMYRA -- Students will have more healthy snacks to choose from in the cafeteria this fall. Alaina Melendez, food director for Nutrition Inc., gave a short presentation on changes to the school menu for the coming year to the Palmyra Area school board Thursday night.

For breakfast, she said, there are some items on the menu that students won't really notice.

"Now, they have to take a fruit. They can take two fruits, up to a cup," she said.

Breakfast will include grain, fruit and milk products, and there are options for a meat, she said.

The menu will include some smart snacks that will be sold during the school day while the students are in the building.

"It's not foods that are sold during lunch or breakfast," she said.

Such things include popcorn, chips and fruit snacks made with real fruit juice.

Beverages will include water, nonfat milk and 100 percent juice. Melendez said there are some other options for students, such as soy milk or lactose-free milk.

Also at the meeting, parents Peggy Morcom of Lantern Lane and Michele Karczewski of Coachman Lane, both of South Londonderry Township, again raised concerns about their children's transfer from Lingle Avenue Elementary School to Forge Road Elementary School. The parents addressed the school board two weeks ago, requesting the administration to change that decision. Four third-grade children and two second-grade children are being transferred from Lingle to the Forge Road school to equalize class size.

Lingle Elementary Principal Tara Valoczki explained Thursday that the goal is to keep the class sizes "as consistent and as equal as possible."

"If we would not have moved students out of Lingle going from second to third grade, the average class size at Lingle would be 29 students, whereas at the other schools, you'll see there are 24, 24, and 23," she addressed the board. "To most people, five students doesn't seem like a lot, but it does make a difference."

Last year, 12 students were transferred to other schools, Superintendent Lisa Brown added.

"Across the district on the elementary division, we were tried to maintain consistency and to collaborate so that no matter what school a student has been assigned to, they get the exact same educational experience," said Anne Hoover, director of elementary education.

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Brown added that transferring students between buildings is not the ideal situation, "But the realities force us to do these things."

School director Ralph Duquette said he empathized with the parents and the students because of his own personal experiences.

"It's a tough situation," he said. "It's hard to deal with the emotional side (of the decision) for the board. But unless it's grossly unfair, I'm not inclined to make a change."

The board did not make a decision on the parents' request at the meeting.

In other business, buildings and grounds supervisor Heath Dresch told the board that EHC & Associates, an asbestos abatement company in Lancaster, conducted an inspection of the district's buildings and found some areas where there may be asbestos in Northside Elementary School. No asbestos was found in the district's other schools, he said.

Dresch said inspectors assume asbestos was used in certain areas of the building, including the bathroom tiles in the restrooms, because of the age of the building. However, he said, they did not test for asbestos.

Inspectors also found asbestos on a pipe underneath the stage in an area that is not easily accessible. The pipe is no longer used, he added.

"The inspectors said it's in good shape" as is, he said.

Duquette asked whether there is a way to encapsulate the pipe to insure that asbestos fibers could not become airborne. Dresch said he would discuss that with the company.

The inspection report will be placed on the district's website.

The board's next meeting will be 6 p.m.Aug. 14.

___

(c)2014 the Lebanon Daily News (Lebanon, Pa.)

Visit the Lebanon Daily News (Lebanon, Pa.) at www.ldnews.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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