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Supply chain issues impact school lunches
The cost to purchase food for school lunches is going up and many staples are becoming more difficult to find, according to Director of Schools Dr. Grant Swallows.

The Warren County School System is experiencing difficulty getting food and food supplies to feed students.

Director of Schools Dr. Grant Swallows told the county’s Budget and Finance Committee and Financial Management Committee that supply chain issues are affecting the food service at schools and asked them to approve a fund transfer of $301,000.

“They are having trouble getting food with the supply chain issues. They are getting marked up on a daily basis and they are actually getting a lot of items marked out on a daily basis,” said Swallows.

Normally, there would only be about 2-3 pages of mark-outs from the order sheets and now the schools are seeing 15-18 pages. Finance Department director Justin Cotten further explained the issues and how the fund transfer would work.

“Mainly because they can’t get the food they are ordering and when they are getting it they are marking it up,” said Cotten. “Food prices just continue to go up for the school system. They are going to have a little extra money left over in salaries because you can’t get people to fill the jobs you have empty, so they are going to try to pull most of that money from salaries.”

Budget and Finance Committee chair Scott Rubley said there are food service problems all over the state, and that in Putnam County Schools they have had to cut down their portion sizes in order to ensure they have enough food for all students.

Swallows says Warren County Schools has also had to make adjustments and is constantly looking for ways to ensure students are fed. “It is unbelievable,” said Swallows. “You wouldn’t

believe some of the things going on. They haven’t gotten hamburgers in the last couple of weeks, and that is usually pretty much a staple. Miss Taylor does a great job, she has been a forward thinker when it comes to this stuff so she is hopefully going to be able to provide food, but she said they may have to end up eating a lot of chicken because we are not having issues with chicken.”

The committees approved the motion to transfer the funds from employee salaries to food service.

“Sad to say we are having trouble with the employees at the schools, but it did free up this money,” said Rubley. “Some of the counties are actually having to cut their serving trays in half because they are not able to get the proper number of serving trays for their students.”

The Warren County Commission has voted to approve the amendment and transfer funds from various line items to food service. All commissioners present voted in favor of the amendment.