Big Bear, CA, September 5, 2013 – Moving the open session of last night’s meeting of the Board of Trustees for the Bear Valley Unified School District proved to be a wise decision as community and school staff members filled the common room at North Shore Elementary School. The hot topic was the issue of the sale of non-nutritious food for school fundraisers. The open session began with an explanation from Kevin Amburgey, North Shore Elementary School’s Principal, of how the issue came to be. A request from that school’s 6th grade teachers to sell candy bars again this year for the year end science camp, prompted further examination by Mr. Amburgey knowing that a Health Committee had formed last year for addressing healthy food choices at the school sites. Mr. Amburgey then consulted with the District’s Superintendent, Kurt Madden, to review the policies in place for nutritional guidelines and they noted that there may be some potential conflicts. His appeal to “wait and see” coupled with a letter sent by Mr. Madden to the school’s Principals requesting all questionable fundraisers be put on hold until further review, prompted a passionate outcry from staff and parents, empowered by social media, generating a petition with 1200 signatures in support of current fundraising practices. Fifteen community members, including Big Bear High School students, spoke on behalf of the current fundraising practices which includes the sale of candy bars, cookie dough and the like, to raise money for our schools. Additionally, money is raised at school sporting events through food concession stands that is used for other school related expenses such as wages for game officials and prom. Mr. Madden cited highlights of the BVUSD Board Policy child nutrition program which states that any food sales conducted outside the district’s food service program shall meet nutritional standards specified by law and that the Board authorizes the Superintendent to approve outside sales of food and beverages for fundraising purposes. Additionally, the policy states that the Board shall promote a healthy lifestyle and that the Superintendent shall encourage school organizations to use healthy food items or non-food items for fundraising purposes. The Board will vote on the matter at the September 18th meeting. In other news, the Board is considering financing of the District’s Solar Energy Project and was given a presentation by an independent consulting firm, Government Financial Strategies, Inc., hired to evaluate the project which would be implemented by the Siemans Corporation. Financing for the Solar Energy Project would be just over $6 million dollars and is still under consideration by the Board.
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