NYS Comptroller Report on Nutrition at New Rochelle Schools

Written By: Robert Cox

New York State Comptroller Report on Nutrition at New Rochelle Schools


The New York State Comptroller conducted an audit of 20 school districts throughout New York State to determine whether school districts are ensuring that all food available to students during the school day and at school activities meets established nutritional guidelines to promote
healthy eating habits and proper nutritional goals. We included the New Rochelle City School District (District) in our audit. The audit period was from September 1, 2007 to January 31, 2009.


While District officials have taken some steps to ensure that students may purchase healthy food and beverages items, the District still offers food and beverages that do not meet established nutritional guidelines and compete with the healthier choices offered. The District has adopted a wellness policy and established a health and wellness committee. The most recent State Education Department (SED) review in 2006 found that the District did not fully comply with Federal guidelines. Subsequent to the review, the District took steps to bring the school lunch
program into compliance.


1. District officials should amend the local wellness policy to specify the standards that should be used to guide beverage choices offered to students.

2. District officials should consider incorporating all the IOM standards for the local school wellness policy.

3. District officials should continue to ensure that the traditional school lunch always meet the SED requirements.

4. District officials should ensure that all foods and beverages that are served to students are authorized by the local school wellness policy.

5. District officials should consider limiting the competitive foods available to students.

6. District officials should consider allowing only healthy snacks to students for inclassroom
activities and fundraisers.

Things That Caught My Eye

  • Six of the 10 items tested from the cafeteria à la carte and vending area did not comply with the District’s own standards.
  • Less strange when you notice the next item..

  • During the audit period the District made $78,022.69 in commission sales from vending machines.
  • The report says there are approximately 10,650 students attending during the 2008-09 school year. The District’s budgeted expenditures for 2008-09 are approximately $222 million for the general fund and $2.9 million for the cafeteria fund.
  • The school budget document from last May puts the number of students at 10,831 or 181 students more than reported to the NYS Comptroller. At $20,000 per student the difference comes out to be 181 x $20K = $3.6 mm.

  • During 2007-08, 39 percent of the District’s students qualified for Free and Reduced Meals and the District had a 64 percent minority student population.
  • 2007-08 Free and Reduced Meals
    IEYMS: 82% Non-White
    ALMS: 55% Non-White

    2007-08 Minority Population
    IEYMS: 61%
    ALMS: 25%

  • The elementary schools are composed of students in grades K through 5. Lunch periods run for 30 minutes starting at 11:30 am and ending at 1:00 pm.
  • I wonder what the parent at Trinity with the infamous “15 minute lunch” might have to say about this. I guess Dr. Weiss forget to mention this issue to the state investigator.

  • The District has 11 cafeterias for student use, which serve approximately 4,050 lunches per day.
  • 4,050 lunches served on 180 days = 729,000 meals served. So that would mean that the District is also serving over 2,000 breakfasts a day. Does that seem right?

  • In a letter responding the draft report, Schools Superintendent Richard Organisciak writes “…the District feels strongly that in order to avoid spending the estimated billions of dollars in costs of treating obesity-related diseases, government agencies need to invest millions of dollars in grants to school districts for obesity prevention programs. Providing nutritious meals in school will not, by itself, impact childhood and adolescent obesity when the majority of a child’s or adolescent’s’ meals and snacks are provided by and eaten under the supervision of parents.”
  • Here we get the real answer for the District pushing the BMI/Obesity line – they want cash to fund more programs. Apparently, the taxpayers paying for 4 out of 10 meals served plus physical education teachers plus all the sports programs plus the fields, gyms and equipment is not enough.