The Washington School District would like to see an increase in the number of students eating breakfast and lunch at school, according to Jill Poepsel, food service director.

Poepsel updated the school board last Wednesday night on changes in the food service department and highlighted goals for the coming year.

Her goal is to see a 20 percent increase in students eating breakfast over time. This year’s goal is 5 percent, she said.

In 2011-12, there was an average daily attendance of 3,713 students during school breakfast hours. Of those students, 13.91 percent ate breakfast at school.

In 2012-13, attendance was 3,375 during breakfast hours and 14.39 percent ate breakfast at school.

Seventy-three percent of breakfasts served were free or reduced.

The average daily attendance during lunch hours was 3,411 in 2011-12 and 3,420 in 2012-13.

There was a slight increase in free/reduced lunches served, from 40.31 percent in 2011-12, to 42.51 in 2012-13.

A total of 66 percent of students ate the school lunch last year, compared to 65 percent the year before.

Other goals for the food service department include meeting or exceeding all USDA guidelines and regulations in regard to the National School Lunch Program (NSLP); hosting a Serve Safe class so all employees can become serve safe certified; and hiring quality staff.

Poepsel also plans to implement a two-week breakfast cycle and four-week lunch cycle at every school, and review and develop an equipment rotation upgrade rotation.

Many staff members are serve safe certified, but not all. Food is still served safely, Poepsel stressed, but the certification will keep employees abreast on any changes and show that employees are willing to go the extra step for students.

Poepsel said the menu cycles will create consistency, as well as help reduce inventory. It also will reduce partial cases of food items and food waste.

Poepsel also told the board she applied for several grants throughout the past year. The district received one grant from Ameren Missouri to help with the cost of an energy efficient dishwasher. The incentive offer was for $2,418.36.

She will continue to apply for grants to improve food service.