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State audit in 2018 may lead to the cancellation of food fair fundraisers

Mariana Orozco-Berber, Co-editor in chief

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On December 15, Ontario High School hosted its second food fair of the semester. This fundraising opportunity for various clubs may be prohibited on all district campuses in the following school year.

 

According to Mr. Alvarez, OHS Assistant Principal of Educational Services, it is possible for food fairs to be prohibited district wide under a state law which mandates that there should be no competition for the school cafeteria or the student store. An additional concern includes the nutritional values of food fair items.

 

On-campus food sales, such as snack bars during sports events, are typically required by the state and county to have a permit as a liability safety net. However, even when clubs get a permit, their sales are still prohibited during school hours.

 

Food fair fundraisers have traditionally fallen under a “gray” area and The Chaffey Joint Union High School District has been lenient in allowing them to occur due to their impact on club revenue.

 

“Food fairs are an exception because there is also something that says that you don’t need certain permits… and certain rules are exempt if [the event] occurs less than 3 times a year,” says Alvarez.

 

However, with the the CJUHSD’s state food audit coming up, some complications may arise as there have been some state-wide rule changes.

 

“What [the district] has done is look at other districts that had their audits years prior… and some of the things they are finding are food fairs…” says Alvarez.

 

If the state declares a complication within campus food fairs, the district will be obligated to comply.

 

It is important to note that the neither the district nor any school within the district has a definite answer regarding the question of whether or not food fairs will be declared an issue. The verdict will be reached by the state auditor sometime during the spring semester.

 

For many clubs, this will mean rapidly searching for alternate forms to raise essential funds.

 

“Food fairs greatly impact many clubs on our campuses because it may be their only [way] to fundraise and make money… with the removal of food fairs, we would be limited…,” says Class of 2018 club vice president, Carlos Herrera.

 

According to Herrera, during the fall food fair, the Senior Class Club was able to raise over $100 in the span of an hour ( during both first and second lunches).

 

The removal of food fairs may alter the way in which clubs go about raising the expected revenue, perhaps more money will have to come out of club member pockets or new fundraising strategies will be developed, but it will not cause club eradications.

“Our school and our district [is] doing things. That’s why we moved the food fair forward to try to make sure our kids have every option until we find out what’s going on,” states Alvarez.

Should the state auditor find issues with food fairs, the district, as well as school administration, will work to find an alternate way for clubs to raise revenue.

Although concerns about club revenue are justifiable, as of today the issue regarding the prohibition of food fairs derives from speculation.

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State audit in 2018 may lead to the cancellation of food fair fundraisers