Milk from vending machines unpopular in schools

The Columbia School Board also votes to move two meetings next year to increase attendance.
Sunday, July 11, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:35 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 11, 2008

SpongeBob SquarePants has a pet snail named Gary, works at the Krusty Krab as a fry cook and is best friends with Patrick the starfish. But he can't seem to get Columbia middle schoolers to buy his milk in the vending machines, causing some discussion by School Board members Friday.

The board heard a report from Jacque Cowherd, deputy superintendent, on the changes made to vending machines in middle schools. He said the district was able to determine student's opinions of the new products in the vending machines by looking at the machine's drop in profits.

In an effort to put healthier options in the vending machines school officials removed sodas and certain snack foods last year, while adding a machine carrying SpongeBob milk. But Cowherd noted that kids could get carton milk from the lunch line.

Cowherd also said that the vending machines are a school issue, not a food service issue. He said that the vending machines are not used much before or after school because students are bringing food "in their backpacks."

Cowherd also said the machines added at Smithton Middle School for the Show-Me State Games will be removed before next fall.

In hopes of increasing community attendance at meetings, the board voted to hold two meetings outside the administration building. The board will meet in one of the district's three middle schools two times next year.

Chris Mallory, deputy superintendent for secondary education, gave a report to the board on the financial effects of occasionally changing the location of the meetings. The main concern of the board and administration was the cost of moving recording and videotaping equipment to the meetings. The board decided to try holding the meetings and use less equipment, even though this could effect the quality of the taping.

David Ballenger, a board member, said he didn't care if the meetings were broadcast or not, just that the board "needs to be out in the community."

Don Ludwig, a member of the board, said that he hoped these meetings held outside the administration building would "introduce the process of monthly board meetings to parents and the public." He said the different venues would help show the desire of the board to get out into the community.

The board also voted to appoint a secretary and treasurer for this fall. Board member Elton Fay nominated Mallory for secretary and Kevan Snell as treasurer. Both held the positions last year and accepted the renewal.

In a special session held directly after the regular school board meeting, the board was trained in the changes to the Sunshine Law.

Phyllis Chase, superintendent, presented her strategic initiatives for each of the three goals of the board and communication issues were discussed. The board created a Task Force on Communication and Technology on which Ludwig, Ballenger and Karla DeSpain volunteered to serve.

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