Raul Ramirez Jr.
The Child Nutrition Department provides warm, healthy and nutritious meals to over 43,000 students currently enrolled at United ISD. The Department operates the Food Production Center that boasts a central kitchen elevating it to state of the art status for meal preparation. With its cook/chill system, the Child Nutrition Department employs modern cooking techniques whereby various menu items are prepared in large quantities while maintaining food quality and safety. Our menu items are delivered daily to each school the day before the menu items are to be served.
The Department services close to 50 school campuses providing breakfast, lunch, snacks and field trips. In addition, the Department continues to operate under the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) which provides the first breakfast and lunch meal free of charge to all the students enrolled in the United Independent School District.
Furthermore, the Child Nutrition Department also provides healthy snacks for those students participating in the United ISD after school daycare program. Several campuses hold tutoring for academics and/or state achievement tests and the child nutrition department provides those students with healthy snacks too. Meals for those students participating in academic activities during the weekend, such as Super Saturday, are provided by the department as well.
A Summer Feeding Program is offered every summer to include all of the district schools which are holding summer school for our students, as well as providing meals to the City of Laredo’s Summer Recreation Program, Webb County Community Centers and various religious centers.
The United ISD Child Nutrition Department employs dietitians to develop nutritious and healthy menus that meet the guidelines of the Texas Department of Agriculture. In addition, our dietitians also work with the schools to provide nutrition education and exercise activities for students. The dietitians also make presentations on diverse nutrition topics to campus parent organizations and teachers. Whenever students require a special diet due to medical conditions, the child nutrition dietitians will develop such diets based on a doctor’s prescription.
The Department employs seven multi-campus supervisors who are entrusted with the responsibility of assuring that all United States Department of Agriculture regulations are being met as well as assisting the cafeteria managers on human resource issues.
Each campus cafeteria has a contingent of cooks and a manager to prepare, serve and clean up on a daily basis. The cafeteria manager is also charged with the responsibility of ordering the correct number of items for each day’s menu and then report to the central kitchen through a “Food Production Record” to assure that sufficient products were ordered, prepared and served to the students. Cafeteria managers have received extensive training on staff management, interpersonal skills and specific training on department reports.
The Department has a catering service which provides meals and other snack items for campus activities all the way from a full steak dinner to pastry items.
The Department also benefits from the advantage of having its own Maintenance Department. The staff from this department is responsible for maintaining and repairing all of the Child Nutrition Department’s equipment in efficient operating condition at the various campuses as well as at the Food Production Center. The staff has personnel with certified State of Texas credentials for Air Conditioning and Refrigeration and Journeymen Electricians.
For the Business operations, the Department has its own Purchasing and Accounts Payable Department. All menu items, as well as other operational supplies and equipment, are processed through the Purchasing Department, in conjunction with the District’s own Purchasing Department to assure that all local, state and federal guidelines are being met under the applicable procurement regulations.
Currently, the Child Nutrition Department operates under a $28.5 million dollar budget for the 2019-2020 school year. The department employs over 525 total personnel in providing the services we currently offer to the students of United ISD.