State Rep. Hannah Kelly, R-Mountain Grove, raised worries about faculties in her district for kids with special needs now not having kitchens. “The colleges in my district don’t have a kitchen,” she stated in a Jan. 29 widespread listening to at the education budget, after participants of the committee mentioned services for kids with disabilities. Not having a kitchen raises a few crucial issues in phrases of food and device, particularly for kids with unique wishes. So we determined to take a better examine Kelly’s announcement, to test if these faculties were definitely missing a kitchen. A kitchen now not used to cook dinner When we asked Kelly about her statement, she stated she was mainly relating to Skyview, a faculty for youngsters with disabilities. The college currently has 12 students. She clarified: “The schools in my district do have a kitchen,
but now not one this is nicely prepared for kids with disabilities.” Kelly stated the kitchen was now not used to cook however simplest to heat up meals. So in which do meals for the scholars come from? “Mountain Grove public schools supply them meals,” Kelly stated. “But if the local faculty is closed, and they haven’t stored leftovers, then they haven’t any food.” The faculty’s building administrator, Michelle Sharp, said it is hard to parent out meals while the local schools are closed. “On those days, it’s far my duty to find meals for my kids,” Sharp stated. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education calls for that a college take a look at fees at neighborhood grocery stores and buy particular approved items. The faculty is required to cover those charges. Sharp stated it’s time ingesting to fulfill all the requirements inside the DESE coverage. Sharp has reached out to local agencies and restaurants who’ve furnished food, and Kelly has bought the meals twice. Skyview is not the simplest school in this situation. Sharp also serves as building administrator for Ozark Horizon, every other school for college students with excessive disabilities that still lacks a functioning kitchen.
But there might be different colleges across the state additionally facing these problems, Sharp said. From 2012 to 2017, Reta House labored as the constructing administrator at each Skyview and Ozark Horizon faculties. She said it had always been this manner, although at the time her most effective option become to go to the grocery save while local schools were closed. “We are not dealt with the same” There is a distinction even between the homes of the Missouri Schools for the Severely Disabled. Some homes have their own kitchen and cook meals even as some do now not and depend on the assist of neighborhood public faculties. “We want to have the identical centers as all the schools,” Sharp stated. “Our college students need to no longer be handled any in another way.” During a assembly of constructing directors in August, Sharp stated she raised the difficulty. House stated her direct place supervisor with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education became aware of the situation, however she does no longer understand if the records become honestly transmitted to DESE supervisors. When asked, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education stated the nation doesn’t have set policies on faculty kitchens. Nancy Bowles, DESE conversation coordinator, stated, after accomplishing out to the spokesperson for the Food and Nutrition Services office, that there aren’t any requirements for the way massive or nicely-prepared a college kitchen is. “They have to be able to prepare and serve a reimbursable meal.”
The colleges are allowed to use an outside supplier to offer meals. Our ruling Kelly said, “The schools in my district do not have a kitchen.” The schools do have a kitchen and home equipment however no longer industrial ones that could be determined in a public college. The school does now not have the resources or group of workers so that it will put together food for the scholars inside the school and has to rely on nearby public faculties to feed the scholars. We price the claim Half True.