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Jace Forcelle

Point Counter-point: A la carte offerings at OHS

December 9, 2022

OHS students host a wide variety of opinions about A la carte menu options and prices. OHS Magnet writers examine two sides of this issue.

Ala Carte is limited, but not for common reasons

At Owatonna High School, a la carte has been an enduring lunch-tradition for the student body by providing alternative food-options to students. The alternative food-options that are provided to students are breakfast foods, hot foods, desserts, snacks and cold beverages. In order to receive food-items from the a la carte, students must purchase the food-items at elevated prices. For most students, a la carte often supplements their lunches from the cafeteria. However, the a la carte recently has had less variety and quality food-options for students.

Students across OHS believe that a la carte has less variety and duly observed that the a la carte is oftentimes out of stock. Junior David Timmerman said, “Yes, it has gone down. Usually, you know they’re out of stock or something or they just don’t have stuff that they would have the day before that I would usually grab.” Through student opinion, a la carte has been significantly impacting the student body through a lack of variety and commonly out of stock sections. However, the issues with ala carte can’t be solely reflected upon the school, but rather the financial situation preceding from the pandemic for food services.

Free-lunch programs across the nation provided OHS with a greater expenditure for high-quality and varied food-options. According to the National Public Radio, the federal government made lunch free for 50.6 million public school students nationwide including Owatonna Public School students during the pandemic. The relieved costs provided to OHS ended on June 30 forcing the administration to refocus the school budget on alternative-food options and general meals. The refocused budget without federal expenditure led to the inability for  OHS to provide a greater variety of food. This promotes the fact that the lack of federal expenditure has significantly impacted the variety and quality of the alternative food-options in the a la carte.

Students across OHS have observed the lack of variety and quality food-options in the ala carte through the observation that the a la carte is oftentimes out of stock and unreflective of student interests. Furthermore, the free-lunch program refocused the financial situation for OHS food services forcing the administration to decrease their expenditure for a la carte.

Ala Carte is improving

At Owatonna Senior High School, a la carte has become more popular because of the alternative food-options provided for students. These options include breakfast bars, chips, a variety of cold drinks, hot food and the popular choice of soft serve ice cream. These food-items are an additional cost to students at elevated prices that range from $0.75 all the way up to $3.00 dollars per item, but it all depends on what item students are purchasing. Some students will pay for a la carte rather than getting a full meal due to their dislike of school lunches.  Regardless of how students feel about main lunches, they think a la carte has been improving over the years by providing more variety of foods and snacks.

A variety of students at OHS say that a la carte is improving very slowly by bringing more options of snacks and hot foods. Sophomore Mitchell Clark said, “I think a la carte is improving as time goes by, but it would be super cool if they would put snacks like beef jerky.” Students would appreciate it if a la carte would incorporate more options to their menu. Students also wish a la carte would be open every single day of the week throughout the year in case students forget their lunches at home or just simply don’t like the school lunch for that day.

Also Sophomore Nolan Cavazos said, “In my opinion a la carte is perfect and just right because it offers a variety of chips, drinks and the best thing is the soft serve ice cream because it is a unique feature to a la carte and not something that all schools even offer.” Students at OHS are very thankful for a la carte being available here with a variety of snacks, fruits and cold drinks for them with the amazing option of ice cream for lunch.

A la carte has been around for many years now and in the future school administration is looking forward to making it even better. At the new high school a la carte will be serving more of a variety of hot food, chips and drinks, compared to the current OHS. As the new school comes to life students and staff are excited for new school lunches and improved a la carte options.

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