Even more mysterious than mystery meat


Students are left puzzled about the loss of tater tots and lunch menu price changes

Margaret Lin

Students are left puzzled about the loss of tater tots and lunch menu price changes. Photo by Margaret Lin.

The tots are gone. The prices are up. What gives?

This year, hot lunch has gone up from $3.50 to $3.75, and the once-present tater tots also seemed to have disappeared. Student responses from an online survey conducted by El Estoque ranged from apathy to full-out fury—but most were just plain confused.

Isn’t it the administration’s responsibility to make more of an effort to alert students and their parents about why changes are being made in the school? Even changes as minimal as the lunch menu should still be publicly announced.

Not alerting students of this change just seems strange—since many students are impacted by it. However, the reasoning behind the lunch price increases and the tater tot removals is very logical. There had been no increases in lunch prices within FUHSD in the two years before this school year. While food and labor prices everywhere else had gone up three to four percent for the last two years, our lunch prices have stayed the same. This year, in order to accommodate these slight changes, they raised lunch prices by 25 cents.

The lack of tater tots is also for a relatively simple reason. This year, the National Lunch Program updated their Federal Register and decided to limit “starchy vegetables — vegetables like white potatoes, corn, lima beans, and green peas — to 1 cup per week to encourage students to try new vegetables in place of the familiar starchy ones.”

FUHSD’s District Nutrition Coordinator Bill Schuster took this one step further by eliminating tater tots entirely and instead, offered baked potatoes to students once a week.

In short, these changes were made for the good of students and had to be made due to new national changes. There’s absolutely nothing spectacular or unique about any of these changes; however, administration should still alert the students about what’s going on.

A trusting relationship between administration and students is essential in any school. With past screw-ups such as the unexpected teacher removals near the end of last year, administration can’t afford any more issues regarding alerting students about changes on campus. Student want to know that they can trust administration. If this trust is broken, the students’ overall trust of the entire school goes down.

Administration did diligently try to alert parents on what’s going at MVHS at their recent PTA-hosted event, in which they had a student, a teacher, and other PTA members explain what’s going on at Monta Vista. However, if students don’t even know why changes are going on, why should administration bother to try to alert parents, who aren’t even the ones attending school everyday?

In the end, the point is that most students were merely concerned as to what was going on. It is certainly the administration’s responsibility to publicize the reason, whether by sending newsletters, emails, or even carrier pigeons, as to why these changes were made. It wasn’t so much an issue of tater tots as it was about communication.

Students are still going to miss the tater tots. At least now they know why.