As a recent (2/25/15) Colorado Springs Independent article indicated, Colorado Springs School District 11 Food and Nutrition Services is currently evaluating different brands of ground beef for use in the District’s Food and Nutrition Services programs. We have seen the price of beef, and specifically beef from some local vendors, increase dramatically. The most recent price increase from these vendors caused us to review pricing, as we found that we are paying 14 percent and 45 percent higher than other vendors for patties and bulk beef, respectively. This probable change reflects an approximate $50,000 savings annually, through "increased cost avoidance."
The quality of the beef being evaluated is similar to that of our current provider. We have written statements from the vendor that the beef's origin is from the US and contains no "pink slime." However, the purchase of this beef does not support our local community and this beef is not "grass-finished," nor anti-biotic and growth-hormone free.
Our lunch revenue is "capped" this year at $3.06 per meal and averages closer to $2.97 per "lunch" meal, because of the reimbursement rates for free, reduced, and paid meals. When we average this with breakfast meals, the revenue drops to $2.67 per meal. Unlike a stand-alone restaurant, we can’t raise prices effectively to cover these cost increases; that $2.67 must cover the cost of food (typically 42 percent), labor costs for hourly and management staff to produce and serve the meal (approximately 45 percent), plus supplies and overhead (banking, insurance, equipment costs, etc.)
Every dollar which is lost in the Food and Nutrition Services Department must be taken from District 11’s General Fund. Taking money from our already "skinny" General Fund to pay for meals is just not an option for our school district, as schools desperately need every penny for student learning.
If you are interested in financially supporting the D11 Good Food Project's efforts to bring back local grass-finished, antibiotic and hormone-free beef for students in Colorado Springs School District 11, please click this link to find out more about how donations are being taken.