A member of the Intervale Elementary School Parent-Teacher Association says the school district may have been too quick to stop PTA lunchtime ice cream fundraisers.
A memo sent Monday to PTAs from the district informed them that federal and state law do not permit fundraising food sales during any time when school nutritional programs are in operation.
This comes as a major blow to the associations, which rely on weekly cafeteria ice cream sales to raise funds for student activities and events.
"These sales helped generate approximately $2,000 a year for our local PTA, which makes up a good part of our budget," said self-desribed concerned father Andrew Sadowski in a letter he sent to Superintendent of Schools LeRoy Seitz. "With the loss of this revenue, we will have to find alternative ways to recoup this loss. On a district level, based on our average sales, all local PTA's stand to lose $20,000 in revenue."
And Sadowski said researching the laws involved shows there may be justification to allow the sales after all.
"After reading the regulation, it appears as though there is an exception to the [federal] rule," he said. "Part B of the regulation states, 'The sale of other competitive foods may, at the discretion of the state agency and school food authority, be allowed in the food service area during the lunch period only if all income from the sale of such foods accrues to the benefit of the nonprofit school food service or the school or student organizations approved by the school.'"
He noted the law in question prohibits the sale of soda water, ices, water ices, chewing gum and certain candies. Ice cream, however, is different, he argued.
"There is no reference to ice cream as having no nutritional value," Sadowski said. "In fact, certain ice creams meet the required regulation and it is my belief that ice cream falls into the competitive food sale category, allowing us to sell it.
"The Intervale PTA is the not-for-profit organization chosen by our school, and the same applies for all the local PTAs—and sales directly benefit the children of the Parsippany School District."
Sadowski said the PTA, being aware of the state guidelines, will follow them should the ban be reversed. In the meantime, he said he was awaiting a response from Superintendent Seitz.
Seitz could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.
"Dingmans Dairy, our provider, has provided our PTA with ice cream choices that adhere to these standards," Sadowski said, asking the superintendent to look into the matter.
He also asked whether a committee could be formed to determine a timely resolution for the controversy.
Liz Kadian, president of the Par-Troy PTA Council, said the group will meet next week to discuss what options are available under the present situation.
Sadowski mentioned another concern troubling PTAs.
"We also stand to lose a lot of money with a freezer full of ice cream that can not be returned," he said. "I realize we are able to sell during non-school hours. However, we order our ice cream in bulk, and in my estimations, we will have to have approximately 12 after-school functions to sell off our entire stock of ice cream."