By Karen Gutierrez
Enquirer staff writer
Here's a tough assignment for kids: Instead of eating regular cafeteria food, try burgers from White Castle and pizzas from Snappy Tomato.
Both will be on the menu at Walton-Verona Elementary School this week when students return from summer break. The unorthodox selections are due to a problem in the kitchen: Specifically, the school doesn't have one yet.
Walton-Verona is one of at least six schools in Northern Kentucky with kitchens under renovation this summer.
The same company is providing all the custom-fitted, stainless-steel serving lines. A shortage of skilled labor - not just in custom work but in such trades as plumbing and bricklaying - has delayed completion of the jobs, architect Bob Hayes said.
The holdup is unfortunate, he said, but as he tells contractors, "People will soon forget that a job was late, but they'll never forget if it wasn't right."
In addition to Walton-Verona, all four elementaries and the middle school in Erlanger are affected by the renovation delays.
Erlanger students, who return Aug. 19, will be served cold cuts while the kitchens are being finished, Superintendent Mike Sander said. This won't be a surprise for the kids, he said, because they got the same menu at the end of last school year, when renovations began.
Children at Arnett, Howell and Lindeman elementaries shouldn't have to wait more than two weeks for kitchens to be up to speed, Sander said.
The delay could be as long as a month at Miles Elementary and Tichenor Middle School.
At Walton-Verona, Superintendent Bill Boyle expects the elementary kitchen to be finished after the first week of school.
Until then, here's the stopgap menu: Tuesday, Snappy Tomato pizza; Wednesday, peanut butter and jelly; Thursday, ham and cheese; Friday, White Castle.
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