Food Services for Lodi Unified School District has a new name and a new game plan.
Director Warren Sun gave a glowing review of the department's accomplishments at Tuesday's board of trustees meeting.
More students are eating from the salad bar each day. More students are eating breakfast and lunch from the schools each day. More than 50 percent of fresh fruits are local and organic. Over 90 percent of food services staff are certified food handlers.
Sun announced the department would be changing its name to Nutrition Services, to reflect a focus on fresh, healthy foods.
He proposed a new executive chef position to design recipes for cooking at schools, teach skills to cooking staff and utilize more local foods.
"We want to build a bridge between serving a healthy meal and one that kids actually like," said Sun.
This position would earn a salary of $81,371 a year, plus benefits. Once the cost of food ingredients and supplies are tallied up, that's a total of $132,906 a year for the executive chef. Sun said his department is able to cover the cost of that position.
It is hard to justify cutting jobs and then creating a new one, said President Ron Heberle.
"It sends a negative message and I have a problem with that," said Heberle, adding the food department has made great strides without an executive chef.