The Director of Food and Custodial Services position has been eliminated at Clay Community Schools for next year, apparently as a cost cutting measure.
Sheila McKee, SFNS, has held that position for the past 13 1/2 years. She has a masters degree in food and nutrition.
McKee said the school corporation has implemented the American Dietary Guidelines in the schools' meals which is the recommendation that calories in a meal coming from fat should be 30 percent or less. McKee said she was told those responsibilities will now be overseen by the assistant superintendent.
"Directing the school lunch program is a difficult job," McKee said. "You should be educated in food and nutrition to know what constitutes a healthy meal.
"I would think it would be very difficult to do without the proper education, to know nutritional contents of foods and be able to provide balanced, healthy meals as set forth by the US Department of Agriculture."
Clay Community Schools Superintendent William Schad said the decision to eliminate the Food Director position was made prior to his arrival. However, he agreed it was probably done as a cost cutting measure but thought it could be dealt with without lowering the quality of meals in the schools. Schad thought it was partly a matter of how the situation is organized.
"Basically the head cooks put it together in each individual building," Schad said. "I feel that will not change. If we can't get answers we need in house, we can go to the Department of Education in Indianapolis in the school lunch program. And there are other avenues available to us for information. ...Where it's going to hurt is it's going to add a lot more to somebody else's plate.
"I really believe if we looked at the situation at school corporations with a similar number of buildings, we probably are understaffed. It would be easier if we had more people on hand."
Schad said when budgetary cuts have to be made, corporations have to make do with less.
"Some people just have to work more hours," he said. "But we're going to make it work."