LOWELL — The school board has asked the district to find a way for students and families to submit concerns about school lunches after receiving negative feedback over the years.
School committee member Connie Martin, who introduced the motion, requested that the district’s food service provider, Aramark, set up an online portal to receive and respond to feedback.
“You can’t expect them to fix things they don’t know about,” Martin said. “Things are building and building and building and we have this outburst of worry and angst. That way, we could put in place a system that would allow us to be proactive. If there are problems, we all know them, and ultimately we all know the solutions.
She said that while Aramark’s website has contact information, it would be easier for the district to simply provide a link where students and parents can submit information and hear what is being done to resolve their issue. problem.
The committee unanimously supported the motion, with some members saying they had heard of problems with school meals.
“I just got a call from a constituent in Centralville and his son has last lunch at Lowell High School, and he says basically they ran out of everything on their last lunch,” said Eileen DelRossi, committee member. “It’s important that parents have a way to voice their concerns because no one wants to hear that their child isn’t eating.”
Christopher Ferreira, the school committee’s student representative, agreed with DelRossi, saying he had run into trouble with high school lunches himself.
“A lot of students, if we see something wrong with the food, we just throw it away and nothing is really done with it. We accept it and that’s how we have to deal with it,” he said. “Having a communication mechanism in place would streamline the process for everyone, both for Aramark and for students and parents. I feel like it would be easier for everyone.
Committee member Stacey Thompson added that the communications page should include a section for attaching photos.
“Sometimes it’s really helpful to see what the exact problem is instead of just trying to describe it,” she said.
In another motion, DelRossi also asked the district to review its staffing at the STEM Academy cafeteria to see if it’s adequate. She noted that in addition to the school’s approximately 950 students who are fed each day, the STEM Academy kitchen also provides lunches to more than 750 students from the city’s eight satellite schools.
“That might fix some issues,” DelRossi said. “There are issues where schools also have their own kitchens, but it would be useful to see perhaps what we could do to help alleviate some of that load, as that’s a huge number for a staff of cafeteria.”
Committee member Andy Descoteaux suggested that the cafeteria at Robinson Middle School might be able to accommodate some of the lunches in preparation for STEM Academy.
“The quality of some of the satellite school meals would improve if they were able to broadcast some of that wealth,” he said.