School bake sales are back – kinda

With a few bags of Doritos and Baked Lays, the city Department of Education (DOE) is trying to make amends with Brooklyn’s Parent-Teacher Associations (PTA).

Parents have criticized the DOE’s new rules limiting bake sales in schools, as they prevent PTAs from raising money for educational programs. Now, the DOE has agreed to allow PTAs to hold once-a-month bake sales loaded with homemade cupcakes — and regular sales of pre-approved packaged foods.

Snacks are pre-packaged so nutrition information is available for students.

The DOE believes this is a way for PTAs and student groups to continue to raise money and provide students with reasonably healthy grub.

The approved foods include granola bars, popcorn and cereal bars, as well as baked potato chips, reduced-fat Doritos, whole grain Pop-Tarts and two-packs of chocolate chip cookies.

Some Brooklyn parents wonder how Doritos can be healthy.

“Most of the food on that DOE-approved list has a lot of salt,” said Cecile Iacono, president of School District 21’s Presidents Council, which is comprised of PTA and Parent Association (PA) leaders in Coney Island and Bensonhurst.

“What’s to stop a kid from buying four bags of chips? Nothing,” said Laurie Windsor, president of District 20’s Community Education Council (CEC), which represents schools in Bay Ridge, Fort Hamilton, Borough Park and part of Bensonhurst.

“Kids are leaving school and going to the store and buying what they want anyway,” said James Dandridge, president of District 18’s CEC, which covers East Flatbush and Canarsie.

Iacono says PTA members aren’t satisfied with the latest round of rules.

“None of my Parent Associations in District 21 have any problem buying the approved snacks on the list. All we are asking for is to sell these approved foods during lunch after the children have finished eating,” she explained.

Currently, sales can only be held after a school’s final lunch period.

“The problem with that is the kids are back in their classrooms,” Iacono noted. “Does the chancellor want us to pull the children out of their classrooms?”

Windsor stressed the importance of bake sales.

“Some schools have bake sales to raise money for instruments for band and orchestra. Some schools have bake sales if they need uniforms for marching band,” she explained. “At [J.H.S. 259], the money went to charity — St. Jude [Children’s Research Hospital], Penny Harvest and the American Heart Association.”

“I lost $2,000 from not being able to have snack sales. It would have paid for the Orton phonics program” at P.S. 216 at 350 Avenue X, Iacono said.

Dandridge has a suggestion for how to help schools and appease DOE officials hoping to curb child obesity.

“If they provided the funding the schools need, parents wouldn’t have to bake and sell cookies at all,” he said.