Board hears nutrition, radon issues

Guilderland school children's health and safety were among the key issues discussed at the Guilderland Board of Education meeting Tuesday, June 24.

During the meeting, food service director for the district Linda Mossop was questioned extensively about plans to bring healthy snacks and drinks into the schools.

Board member Gloria Towle-Hilt voiced her concern about the high sugar content in sports drinks such as Gatorade, and in many varieties of vitamin water. She asked why it was necessary to have these options available to the students.

If their choices are water, milk or juice, and they're thirsty, they're going to drink water, milk or juice, said Towle-Hilt.

Mossop said the reason the schools are still selling Gatorade is because the athletic departments still carry it.

"We will be pulling some of them next school year," said Mossop.

Colleen O'Connell, who also sits on the board, called for regulation of what the Parent Teacher Association sells to raise funds. She said they have sold a number of unhealthy foods, including cookie dough, as a means of fundraising.

"There are other ways to raise money," O'Connell added.

Other members were concerned with the high price of fuel and how it will affect the price of food. Mossop said fuel is an issue, but the rising price of eggs -- up 60 percent from last year -- grain and milk are bigger worries. She also said she prefers local food and often purchases goods from Indian Ladder farms in Altamont.

The board evaluated the need to raise the price of lunch to compensate for the rising prices.

A resolution was passed to set the price of the contracts for next year's vendors, but the option to change the menu to healthier foods is still available.

High-sugar drinks were not the only health issue discussed at the meeting, as a resolution was passed to take "emergency action" to mitigate radon emissions in Guilderland High School.

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