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Smartphone app could show school lunch menu

CHANDLER, Ariz. — The Chandler Unified School District could have an iPhone application by the end of next school year that will let parents see what is on the menu for school meals throughout the week.

“Parents can look at nutritional labels and information for our food, find out if there are any allergy problems and look at a picture of the food,” said school district nutritional supervisor Wesley Delbridge.

According to Delbridge, the app is being designed as part of a push to communicate more with district families.

“More person are surfing the Internet on their phone instead of their PCs,” he said. “The average person has 27 apps on their phone and educational apps rank fifth as the most [downloaded].”

Delbridge isn’t sure how much it will cost to develop and market the app, but he is estimating over $100,000. However, those costs will already be figured into lunch- price increases that had been anticipated.

Over a five-year period, it should come to about three cents from every meal going to fund the app. That cost should be offset by the money the district will save in not mailing menus to parents.

“At-home mailers get really expensive and they can get lost in the mail,” said Delbridge. “Smartphones are just on the rise, and are most of the market now.”

The app could also be developed for Android smartphones and tablet computers.