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School Lunch Delivery Ban Concerns Area Businesses

Schools administrator now says a contractual issue with the district's cafeteria manager poses further problems with lunch deliveries by outside vendors.

The owners of three local businesses told last week to cease their lunch deliveries to Ridgewood schools petitioned the board of education Monday night to reconsider the new policy barring them from delivering meals to district staff and students.

Superintendent Dan Fishbein, who sent a letter to parents citing safety concerns, parking issues and problems of disruptions for school staff as reasons for the ban, said a contractual issue with the district’s cafeteria service prohibits the businesses’ current system of delivering lunch to students.

The five-year, annually renewable contract finalized last June with The Pomptonian, Inc., specifies that the district “shall assure that there are no competitive sales during the cafeteria’s hours of operation.”

Fishbein said although the district does not pay for the deliveries to students from outside vendors, the involvement of front office staff in distributing the meals could be interpreted as a breach of the contract. He said school officials were not aware of the potential legal issue when the initial letter went out to parents and area businesses last week.

“We’re accepting and distributing [the lunches]. We’re being used to run the businesses,” Fishbein told Patch. “Our staff should not be involved in the operation of their businesses.”

The owners of West Side Bagels and Deli, Parkwood Deli and No Fuss Lunch, three businesses who deliver frequently to students, pressed on school officials Monday night to reconsider the policy, and said they were willing to work to address the concerns stated in Fishbein’s initial letter. And, echoed by a handful of parents who attended the meeting, they also defended the practice as an issue of choice for the families who place orders for their children.

“The [food in the cafeteria] is unacceptable to the kids. That’s why this business has skyrocketed and gotten so big,” said Roger Schnorrbusch, of Parkwood Deli. “I just think it’s unfair that you’re taking this away from the mothers and the kids that come into our business everyday and want to eat our food for lunch.”

The district’s cafeteria menu has been revamped and no longer operates at the deficit of years past, noted district Business Administrator Michael Falkowski. But Gabriella Wilday, co–founder of No Fuss Lunch and a mother of three Ridge School students, said the demand for alternatives remains high.

“We’re willing to work with you because I think there’s a large community of parents that want to choose,” she told district officials.

The business operates without a storefront, and only delivers pre-ordered lunches to schools. Since being informed the deliveries would no longer be allowed as of this week, Wilday said, No Fuss has also taken a substantial financial hit, canceling orders that had already been placed through the end of the month. The small company also delivers to schools in neighboring towns.

“I’ve been shut down,” she said. “And I’ve had to refund 668 orders.”

Fishbein said there would “absolutely not” be further restrictions on parents delivering lunches to their children. He stood by his original suggestion that the businesses propose a method ensuring school staff has no involvement in facilitating the deliveries. 

thetentman January 15, 2014 at 07:37 AM
How about the PARENTS, who object to the food being served to their precious tykes grow a set and MAKE a brown bag lunch for the spoiled brats. Or put a refrig in the kids car and give the delivery people keys so they can stock it for these special children. Then the little precious baby can walk out to his car and get a fresh well made mommy approved lunch. Oh that's right they have to park off campus. Oh no, the humanity. Go Dr. Fishbein.
jp1 January 15, 2014 at 08:12 AM
I would think that a high school student is qualified to make his or her own lunch to bring to school. No school staff should ever be used in this operation.
Willard January 15, 2014 at 10:05 AM
Last week SuperNanny throws down the safety card, this week he throws down the contract card and then finishes by saying that it would all be okay as long as his staff don't have to do any work. Hence, what was the real reason for the policy change...hmmm. I get that many think this is a case of over indulgence, however for pete sake if a parent wants to buy their kid a sandwich and have it delivered so be it. If No Fuss Lunch had to refund 668 lunches, what do you think that tells us of the quality of the cafeteria vendor? As one of my kids (who takes his lunch to school 9 out of 10 days) said the other day, "kids just don't like the crap they serve in the cafeteria, it is that bad".
thetentman January 15, 2014 at 10:09 AM
Brown bag it you cry babies!
Ridgewooder January 15, 2014 at 01:55 PM
People with the means and the inclination to have an outside vendor deliver lunch to their children should be allowed to. It is not out fault the cafeteria food is terrible nor is it our fault that we wish for these food vendors to feed our children lunch.
thetentman January 15, 2014 at 02:02 PM
And they can you just can't have it delivered in the school anymore. Little blobby will have to go out and meet the delivery person.
Andrew J January 15, 2014 at 04:22 PM
What's with the anger against the kids and parents? I'm pretty sure there is more to it than safety. Pomptonian either complained or threatened to complain about the competition and Fishbein is trying to make them happy and avoid potential liability for violating the contract. I'm not sure about his statement that “Our staff should not be involved in the operation of their businesses.” School personnel are not making the lunches; they are answering the door. By that same argument, they would also be doing the work of UPS, FedEx and the USPS whenever a delivery is made to the school.
Boyd A. Loving January 15, 2014 at 05:24 PM
Well, well well. It would appear that the parents & taxpayers who did not believe the "no food delivery" ban was related to safety concerns, parking issues and problems of disruptions for school staff were absolutely correct; it was all about money, or the lack thereof. So why were we not informed of this "contractual issue" initially? And whose idea was it to come up with the bogus "safety card" explanation? And, most importantly, what else have we been lied to about?
big momma January 15, 2014 at 05:50 PM
Hey Andrew J. Get real! I have personally seen all these lunches stacked up outside the schools, the worst being Ridge. Not only do the secretaries have to make many trips outside to bring these lunches in, but then they have to sort them by grade otherwise he would be a stampede - altho it does currently resemble that., This whole nonsense started way back with parents dropping off mickey d's or bk. Then that took too much out of these parents' days, so they needed delivery. The easiest solution - pick up your lunch from westside bagels or parkwood the night before or in the morning. These businesses existed before this delivery nonsense began and I'm sure they can survive without the students,
big momma January 15, 2014 at 05:53 PM
And better yet, why don't these parents have a little bonding time with their kids, go food shopping together and let the kids pick out what they want for lunch, and then go home for further bonding while the parents and kids make and pack the lunches! Try it, you might even get to know your kid!!! And u sure can't put a love note inside those delivered lunches!!
RidgeWoodie January 15, 2014 at 06:20 PM
Didn't you hear - Fishbein allowed the outside food deliveries because he wanted to conduct a traffic study at each school.
Concerned Ridgewood Dad January 15, 2014 at 08:43 PM
The first image that came to mind when I heard this story was of the pizza delivery to Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.... Here's a thought - If a Ridgewood HS student has a 3.85 or better GPA, they'll be granted the privilege of ordering sushi from GEN or a Monte Cristo from Parkwood Deli for lunch. If not, tough S#%!, thats life! It's absolutely disgusting that parents would drop off McDonalds to their kids at school... I hope this is a joke. BTW - Same applies to this "open campus" nonsense. If you're in the top 10% in terms of grades feel free to come and go...if not, sit in the library and get your grades up!
Willard January 15, 2014 at 10:03 PM
The traffic study would just show that the schools needed more administrators.
WTF January 16, 2014 at 11:47 PM
The staff is not only sorting these lunches, they are having to make phone calls, etc. when an order is missing or when an order is wrong. This is not their job. I don't understand why these parents can't make lunch for their children. I make my kids' lunch every day and am very happy to do so. Also, do people who drop off McDonalds and BK really think that's any better than the school lunch?
ann m January 17, 2014 at 08:49 AM
These comments are some of the best I've ever seen on a blog. I think these students can bring lunch from home. They pick it up the day before at one of their "favorite" places. Whole foods and Kings are so close...
Resident25 January 19, 2014 at 08:31 PM
Clear up the commotion and have the lazy overindulged kids being a "healthy" lunch from home. The lazy kids learned this from their lazy parents. If you don't know how to make a sandwich then stock up on Lunchables. They are not healthy but they should fit into your lazy lifestyle. Comparing lunch deliveries for multiple kids to UPS deliveries for the school is silly. You must be the same person who called this restraint of trade. Think first.
Resident25 January 19, 2014 at 09:27 PM
This problem was manufactured by the parents and should be ended by the school administration.
Willard January 19, 2014 at 10:13 PM
Sorry resident25, this was SuperNanny's doing...his never ending playing of the Safety Card to get what he wants is wearing thin. You can blame the kids or the parents but he brought this nonsense on himself.
thetentman January 20, 2014 at 09:33 AM
Keep crying you bunch of whiners - get over your bad selves and pack a lunch - the sun does not shine out your butt or your kids butt - sorry but it's true - And you wonder why people laugh at this town?
Deb Walker January 20, 2014 at 01:25 PM
And is this why our bloody taxes are so high??? There should be two choices; either eat the cafeteria food or bring your lunch. No fast food deliveries by parents, no deli deliveries. My God, what a bunch of overindulged children AND parents!
Willard January 20, 2014 at 02:21 PM
Ms. Walker, our taxes are bloody high for many reasons, however having lunches delivered to the schools is certainly not one of them. Just this year, the minute the school budget was approved, the BOE hired additional administrators, not teachers, administrators. SuperNanny continually draws unwanted attention to our town by his overly dramatic use of the Safety Card, whether it is SnapChat, Halloween, and now lunch delivery. To rant on the kids and parents is just plain silly. The kids lose, the parents lose, local businesses lose, but SuperNanny and the admin staff can eat their lunch in peace while the cafeteria provider turns out a crap product. So in summary, our taxes are high for many reasons, but please don't be so naive as to blame it on a delivered lunch.
GG January 20, 2014 at 05:11 PM
I am going out on a limb here...but did anyone consider that SuperHero vacillates from one reason to another because he's simply employing diplomacy? I mean, what is the best way to tell helicopters to go hover somewhere else? How do you tactfully say, "parents, I know it's hard to find 5 minutes (or 15 if you have more than 2 children) in a day, but if you're concerned about what your children eat at our school, make them a lunch." It's laughable and at the same time appalling. As a parent, I am angry that delivery people have been given access to our schools. As a working parent, I find it amusing that a parent can't find time to make a lunch for their child(ren)...and more amusing that my elementary aged child knows how to make his own lunch in a pinch. I promise you Willard, SuperHero isn't drawing unwanted attention to our town. Dig deep and really understand this issue, SnapChat and your other perceived dramas...think hard, if not him who could it be?

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