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November 26, 2022

High school preps food truck for campus

Healthy burritos and tacos might be wheeling into San Benito High School this month on the campus’ first school-owned food truck.
The purchase of the vehicle for about $120,506 was approved in a 4-0 roll call vote in late May, and the four-wheeled, food-carrying device is expected to roll onto campus in November. Trustee Evelyn Muro was absent and did not vote at the springtime meeting.
“It’s versatility. Kids want versatility,” Principal Todd Dearden told the Free Lance last week. “When I went to school, they had the same tray with the same thing.”
Dearden added that food trucks are popular now. The school’s new vehicle could be carted to football games, fundraising events and even parent meetings, he explained.
“Food trucks are everywhere,” the administrator said.
At the original meeting, where the idea was proposed five months ago, Food Supervisor Jim Lewis advocated for the equipment saying it would offer creative marketing around campus, stir student curiosity and increase food options, according to the meeting minutes.
Lewis joined the district in July of 2014 and started customized salad and sandwich bars that were very successful, boosting participation in the school meal programs.
This will be the school’s first food truck, but in the mid 1990s, privately owned vehicles used to come on to campus or park near the school to serve students, Superintendent John Perales told the Free Lance last week. These trucks went away after the school became a closed campus and the federal government started to heavily regulate the types of food that could be served to students, the superintendent explained.
With the new food truck, most meal preparation would take place in the school’s kitchen before being finished at the point of sale to ensure a quality product, Lewis explained, according to minutes from the May meeting.
Roseanne Lascano, the district’s director of finance and operations, advised that the school’s food service budget ending balance of $300,000 could fund the vehicle. Conservative calculations showed the district could earn back the money within three years, according to the same document.
Additional staff would likely be needed to operate the truck, which would be handled initially by a substitute worker to ensure the money brought in could support added staff expenses, Lascano explained.
This particular vehicle—which is currently being painted—should hopefully be in use within a month, Dearden told the Free Lance last week. He did not have the date the truck would be arriving, he said.
“It’s what the kids want to eat and it gives us another kitchen that can go mobile,” the principal said.

Staff Report
A staff member edited this provided article.

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