RSF School board passes new policy on patriotic exercises

R. Roger Rowe School.
(Karen Billing)

The Rancho Santa Fe School board passed a new board policy on patriotic exercises at R. Roger Rowe School at its Dec. 9 meeting.

Brought forward by outgoing board president Jee Manghani, the action was meant to underscore and highlight the existing requirement of the education code that students salute the American flag every day as well as add schoolwide commemorations and instruction around Constitution Day and Citizenship Day (Sept. 17), Veterans Day, Memorial Day and 9/11 (also called Patriot Day).

Per the policy, the board encourages teachers to promote the importance of The Pledge of Allegiance as an expression of patriotism, love of country and pride in the United States.

At a previous meeting, new trustee Paul Seitz had questioned why middle school students were not a part of this year’s Veterans Day celebration. Superintendent Donna Tripi said middle school students had taken part in the celebration in the past but the teachers did their own thing instructionally with them this year.

With the policy, the board directed the school to include the middle school in its Veterans Day activities going forward.

“The kids don’t all come together that often and I think that Veterans Day is appropriate for all ages, it’s very moving,” Clerk Annette Ross said. “I think they would benefit greatly from being a part of it.”

District will not pursue state reimbursement for Universal Meals
The Rancho Santa Fe School District will not seek reimbursement from the state to implement its Universal Meal Program, providing free breakfast and lunches to all students.

Last month the board gave direction to survey parents again about the district getting reimbursement from the state as per input from their new food consultant, getting funding from the state would mean eliminating popular competing food sales from Ki’s and Jersey Mike’s. A total of 155 parents responded and 66% were in favor of non-reimbursement, which helped support the board’s choice.

According to Superintendent Donna Tripi, they have continued to work with their lunch vendor Ki’s to make adjustments to the free meals: “It’s better than it was at the beginning of the year,” Tripi said.

There is now more variety on the menu, all lunches come with a healthy snack and they now have a self-serve vegetable and fruit bar. She said the district has not received further criticisms about portion sizes.

The district has seen 62 to 93 students participate in the free meals daily and annual food costs are estimated to range from $10,800 to $41,850.

The board will continue to work with its hired food consultant to ensure they are compliant with Universal Meals. At the meeting, the board also approved a food service contract with Ki’s through June 2023.