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5 Things
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New York City public schools are on track to lose close to 30,000 students by this fall.

5 things: Major school districts hit with enrollment drops and staff shortages

This and a new unlimited dining plan at Vanderbilt are some of the stories you may have missed recently.

In this edition of 5 Things, Food Management highlights five things you may have missed recently about developments affecting onsite dining.

Here’s your list for today:

  1. Major school districts hit with enrollment drops and staff shortages

Nearly 40% of the nation’s largest school districts are facing staff reductions and school closures due to lost enrollment, according to a review of 100 large and urban districts by the Center on Reinventing Public Education. At the same time, more than half of large districts are scrambling to incentivize staff to stay put amid a tight job market, often by pouring federal pandemic relief dollars into salary bonuses for current and new hires or expanding programs to recruit and retain new teachers.

As perhaps the most prominent example, New York City public schools are on track to lose close to 30,000 students by this fall, according to projections from the Office of Student Enrollment that show the city Department of Education expects to enroll roughly 28,100 fewer students this fall, and another 2,300 students by the end of the school year. The figures account for students in all geographic district schools but do not include those enrolled in charter schools, schools for kids with disabilities and other nontraditional public programs.

Read more: Enrollment Drops, Staff Shortages Cause Budget Whiplash for Top School Districts

  1. Vanderbilt to unveil unlimited dining plan, biometric check-in this fall

Vanderbilt University Campus Dining plans to implement an unlimited meal plan this fall that will allow students to swipe into residential dining halls (excluding Kissam Kitchen) an unlimited number of times per week and per day for 45 minutes of buffet-style dining. In addition to the new meal plan, Commons will transition to an all-you-can-eat style and offer students the option of using VisionPass, an optional sign-in program that uses biometric scanners to grant access to the venue more quickly.

Read more: A look into Fall 2022 dining

  1. Massachusetts legislature passes universal free school meal bill

Both the Massachusetts House and Senate have signed off on a compromise $52.7 billion annual spending plan that includes universal free school meals for all school children across the state at a cost of about $115 million. Gov. Charlie Baker has up to 10 days to review the budget and send back amendments and vetoes.

Read more: $52.7 Billion State Spending Plan Goes to Gov. Baker; Includes Vargas’ Free School Meals Plan

  1. Free food, drink tops list of back-to-office incentives in Eurest survey

A quantitative study of more than 1,000 business and industry workers by Compass Group's Eurest unit in the UK saw free food or drink vending heading a list of what would tempt employees back to work, with free coffee, tea, drinks and snacks and an onsite restaurant provided for free also making the top five incentives for return to office. The survey also found that 52% of those whose employer did not offer a workplace restaurant would be tempted to return to the workplace if they did.

Read more: Free or subsidised food and beverage is key to tempting employees back to workplace

  1. LSU plans to open Popeye’s unit in residential dining hall

Louisiana State University and Chartwells Higher Education have partnered to unveil the first Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen location within the Southeastern Conference. Slated to open this upcoming 2022-23 school year in a residential dining hall, the new space will offer counter service and a dine-in experience, along with a walk-up window service. Students will be able to use all forms of payment, including TigerCASH and Paw Points, a declining balance included in their LSU Dining meal plans.

Read more: Louisiana State University to Open New Popeye’s Location in Late Fall

Bonus: Eating the NACUFS show floor: 30 items for on-trend college dining

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

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