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Attention, Parents: All Spring Break Meals Must Be Picked up Monday at Fresno Unified Schools



Photo of school lunches against a blackboard
Fresno Unified's spring break to-go meals will be available 10 a.m. to noon on Monday only. (Shutterstock)
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Check out my other School Zone columns at Nancy Price’s School Zone Facebook page.

Fresno Unified is continuing its tradition of providing free breakfast and lunches during school holidays by offering to-go meals during spring break, which starts Monday.

But there’s a somewhat narrow window of opportunity — the district is scheduling the pickup for all seven days’ worth of meals from 10 a.m. to noon Monday only.

Normally the district would get reimbursement for student meals from the Department of Agriculture, but the feds don’t pay for meals during school holidays. District spokeswoman Nikki Henry says the district will use federal CARES Act ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) funds to cover the meal costs, which she says will total $250,000.

Here’s where the meals will be distributed:

Elementary schools: Addams, Figarden, Jefferson, and Turner
Middle schools: Cooper Academy, Fort Miller, Sequoia, Terronez, Tioga, Wawona, and Yosemite
High schools: Bullard, Edison, Fresno, Hoover, McLane, Roosevelt, and Sunnyside

Also in School Zone: 

  • Fresno Unified is testing an “offer versus serve” food program to let students choose.
  • The majority of workers on the district’s first project labor agreement live locally, not out of town.
  • The city’s first cricket pitch is unveiled at a Fresno school.

More Choice, Less Waste

Speaking of meals, Fresno Unified is testing out a new meal service at a handful of elementary schools. The “offer versus serve” program may help the district with two of its challenges — a shortage of service trays due to supply issues, and food waste. In OVS, students can choose which fruits and vegetables they prefer instead of being handed a tray full of items, some of which they might not like and go straight into the garbage (or sometimes are jammed into outdoor furniture, as School Zone saw on a recent visit to Roosevelt High School).

According to a recent board communication, the benefits of OVS include greater student autonomy, less food waste, and less need for plastic wrap.

The program is being piloted at Anthony, Forkner, Mayfair, and Muir elementaries, with one or two schools being added each week during the school year.

And, in an effort to expose students to healthy vegetables they might not otherwise encounter, Fresno Unified is adding new menu items, including asparagus, which School Zone recalls not being terribly fond of as a youngster (but loves now, so go figure).

What About Those Project-Labor Agreements?

A question arose during recent Fresno Unified School Board conversations about whether to approve a project-labor agreement to build the new Farber Center in southeast Fresno. It’s the district’s second such construction contract in which the contractor agrees to use union workers in exchange for guarantees of no work stoppages.

Some trustees wanted to know just how many of the workers hired for the new project would be from the Fresno area versus coming from out of town, and presumably taking most of their wages back home with them once the project is completed.

The question seemed somewhat unanswerable since the contract hadn’t even been let yet, let alone workers hired.

Trustee Claudia Cazares, who represents the Hoover region, showed she is blessed with common sense when she suggested that the district take a look at how many workers had been hired to build Juan Felipe Herrera Elementary School. The district’s first PLA contract could provide a gauge of how many local versus nonlocal workers are collecting paychecks on the project, she reasoned.

The answer came in a recent board communication: When Herrera subcontractors were asked to provide their workers’ residential city and ZIP code information as well as whether they live within the Fresno Unified district, the responses showed that 30% of 521 workers live in Fresno Unified, and over 80% live in the “greater Fresno area” (Fresno, Clovis, Madera, etc.)

Cricket Pitch Dedicated at Central Unified School

The second-most-watched sport worldwide (soccer/football takes the top spot) will be a whole lot more visible in Fresno now. A long-awaited cricket pitch, supported by the Fresno Cricket Club and community members, was unveiled Friday at Madison Elementary in Central Unified School District.

Although like baseball it is played with a bat and a ball, cricket is not the international version of “America’s Pastime.” Balls are bowled instead of pitched, players try to hit balls but also try to protect pins from being knocked over, and the field where players can hit balls is pretty much 360 degrees instead of baseball’s 90.

The district is making the pitch available for public use, but reservations are required. Click here to make a reservation on the district’s website.

Cricket is the world’s second-most popular spectator sport. (Shutterstock)

Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email