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Category Archives: School Facilities

New CC+S Study: Are California Public School Kitchens Scratch-Cooking Ready?

Posted on by jvincent

A new Center for Cities + Schools study in collaboration with Conscious Kitchen and The Edible Schoolyard Project.

One way to serve healthier school meals is by incorporating “scratch-cooking” techniques, whereby many or most of the ingredients are prepared onsite from a raw and/or minimally processed form, into school food service programs. However, the vast majority of public school kitchens across the U.S. and in California are not designed and/or equipped to scratch cook. Raw and/or unprocessed food ingredients have shorter shelf lives and fewer added preservatives, thus requiring specialized kitchen infrastructure and equipment for receiving, storing, and preparing.

To understand the opportunities and challenges to increasing healthy school meals across California, this study investigates the scratch-cooking readiness of the state’s public schools’ kitchens. We conducted a web-based survey of food service directors in California public school districts. Two hundred directors from 200 school districts responded.

Key Findings

  • Scratch cooking is happening in all types and sizes of public schools in California.
     
  • Nearly one-third of all responding school districts report high levels of scratch cooking in their district while only 16% report that they do little-to-no scratch cooking currently.
     
  • Rural school districts are more likely to report high levels of scratch cooking.
     
  • Majority non-white school districts report less scratch cooking than majority white districts.
     
  • Districts with high levels of scratch cooking employ more food service workers and more full-time employees compared to districts that do some or little-to-no scratch cooking.
     
  • Key challenges to expanding scratch cooking are having skilled staff and the necessary facilities and equipment to scratch cook.
     
  • School districts rely heavily on local funding for kitchen facility and equipment upgrades.
     
  • More than one-quarter (29%) of school districts report serving at least some organic / pesticide-free foods; the highest income districts are more than twice as likely as the lowest income districts to report serving at least some organic / pesticide-free foods.
     
  • An estimated $5.81 billion is needed to make all California public school kitchen facilities scratch-cooking capable.

Recommendations

Based on the findings from our study we lay out the following framework of recommendations to increase scratch cooking and healthier food options in California public schools. California’s Office of Farm to Fork (OFtF) could potentially be a “hub” to help lead and coordinate this work.

  • Invest to catalyze change. Strategic investment is needed to build scratch cooking capability across the state, prioritizing areas where key funding barriers exist.
     
  • Establish a statewide task force on healthy school meals. A concerted effort is needed to establish a plan for expanding access to healthy meals in California public schools.
     
  • Learn from existing ingenuity. We need to better understand successful scratch cooking strategies already underway.

View Full Report

View Executive Summary


America’s School Buildings—Like California’s—Need Fixing

Posted on by JEFF VINCENT, PHD
Filed under: School Facilities

Our country’s K-12 infrastructure is in crisis. Far too often, these learning environments are rundown and in disrepair, discourage and sicken children and teachers, waste energy, and fail to support a 21st century education. A new national study by the 21st Century School Fund, the National Council on School Facilities, and the Center for Green Schools sheds much-needed light on the grim reality: a $46 billion annual shortfall in funds needed to keep the country’s school buildings healthy, safe and conducive to learning. My research on California echoes the national trend: more than half of the state's school districts underspend each year on their facilities,…


Getting Local: Facilities Needs in a Northern California School District

Posted on by BRETT MITCHELL
Filed under: School Facilities

A NEW UC BERKELEY CENTER FOR CITIES+SCHOOLS STUDY FINDS THAT MORE THAN HALF OF CALIFORNIA’S K-12 SCHOOL DISTRICTS UNDERSPEND ON THEIR FACILITIES, COMPARED TO BEST PRACTICE SPENDING STANDARDS. THIS IS A GUEST BLOG REFLECTING ON THE RESEARCH FINDINGS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR CALIFORNIA STATE POLICY. The new study from UC Berkeley’s Center for Cities and Schools on school facilities spending patterns in California hits home in my school district, San Juan Unified School district (SJUSD). In the study, “Going it Alone: Can California’s K-12 School Districts adequately and Equitably Fund School Facilities?”, Jeff Vincent and Liz Jain document school district efforts across…


How Should California Fund its K-12 School Facility Needs?

Posted on by JEFF VINCENT, PHD
Filed under: School Facilities

This blog is part of our series looking at the California policy implications for our new study, Going it Alone: Can California’s K-12 School Districts Adequately and Equitably Fund School Facilities?, which finds that more than half of school districts in the state underspend on their facilities, raising educational and health equity concerns. In Spring 2016, lawmakers in Sacramento will debate new state funding options for K-12 public school facilities. To inform this policy discussion, CC+S has invited guest commentary from prominent voices across the state. With the Brown Administration and the State Legislature returning from the holiday break and looking at options for new…


K-12 School Buildings: Key to a Low Carbon Future

Posted on by KATE GORDON
Filed under: School Facilities

This blog is part of our series looking at the California policy implications for our new study, Going it Alone: Can California’s K-12 School Districts Adequately and Equitably Fund School Facilities?, which finds that more than half of school districts in the state underspend on their facilities, raising educational and health equity concerns. In Spring 2016, lawmakers in Sacramento will debate new state funding options for K-12 public school facilities. To inform this policy discussion, CC+S has invited guest commentary from prominent voices across the state. As the holidays end and my kids gear up for a new semester, it’s turned my attention on a critical issue here in…


Eliminating the K-12 Facility Gap

Posted on by KATHLEEN MOORE
Filed under: School Facilities

A NEW UC BERKELEY CENTER FOR CITIES+SCHOOLS STUDY FINDS THAT MORE THAN HALF OF CALIFORNIA’S K-12 SCHOOL DISTRICTS UNDERSPEND ON THEIR FACILITIES, COMPARED TO BEST PRACTICE SPENDING STANDARDS. THIS IS PART OF A SERIES OF BLOG POSTS ON OUR RESEARCH FINDINGS AND THEIR IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE POLICY. UC Berkeley Center for Cities and Schools’ recent study, “Going it Alone: Can California’s K-12 School Districts adequately and Equitably Fund School Facilities?” benchmarks school maintenance and operations (M & O) and capital spending to building industry best practice standards for the first time ever in California. Doing so gives us a far better picture of…


EQUALIZING SCHOOL QUALITY: PROGRESSIVE FINANCE OF SCHOOL FACILITIES NEEDED IN CALIFORNIA

Posted on by BRUCE FULLER, PHD
Filed under: School Facilities

A NEW UC BERKELEY CENTER FOR CITIES+SCHOOLS STUDY FINDS THAT MORE THAN HALF OF CALIFORNIA’S K-12 SCHOOL DISTRICTS UNDERSPEND ON THEIR FACILITIES, COMPARED TO BEST PRACTICE SPENDING STANDARDS. THIS IS A GUEST BLOG REFLECTING ON THE RESEARCH FINDINGS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR CALIFORNIA STATE POLICY. Gov. Brown’s deputies find themselves in a contradictory position as they consider whether or not to tax local communities to improve crumbling school facilities. The Administration presses forward on one of the largest efforts to redistribute public resources toward lower-income families and their children ever attempted by any government. The governor’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) reform will…


Is School Facility Funding in California Adequate and Equitable?

Posted on by JEFF VINCENT, PHD
Filed under: School Facilities

A new UC Berkeley Center for Cities+Schools study finds that more than half of California’s K-12 school districts underspend on their facilities, compared to best practice spending standards. This is the first in a series of blog posts on our research findings and their implications for state policy.   Public education funding is undergoing major changes in California. The new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) significantly restructured education program funding – providing more money overall and instituting a new formula that gives more funding to districts with targeted disadvantaged students (see the details here). Though it’s been making fewer headlines,…


Designing Outdoor Play and Learning Environments

Posted on by Cailin
Filed under: School Facilities

We get a lot of random requests for information here at CC+S. Here’s one we’ve had more than once: “What are best practices for the design of outdoor play and learning environments at schools?"  We recently got an email about this from a parent in Hawai’i. As my colleagues and I put together a shortlist of key resources for her, it occurred to me that it was worth sharing. So here goes. Big kudos to CC+S’s Creative Director, Shirl Buss, who put most of this info together.  In no particular order, these firms and organizations have done innovative work in playground design: Robin…


Full Service Schools in a Full Service City

Posted on by Cailin
Filed under: School Facilities

Desiree Carver-Thomas is working with the City of Richmond to examine the way in which communities and schools positively interact to create beneficial outcomes. Her project: Implementing the Full Service Community Schools Initiative, aims to increase the presence of full service schools across Richmond.  Desiree is a first-year Master of Public Policy student at the Goldman School, interested in education policy and social welfare. She came to Berkeley after teaching for five years in New York City public elementary schools. She's committed to working on issues of equity and community empowerment in public education. A full service community school (FSCS) is “both a place and a…