Some district schools have decided to eliminate the healthier new lunch program after only one year, as many students do not want the packed meals prepared in the cafeterias that led to losing earnings.
Not enough to offset losses
Federal officials say they do not know the exact figures, but have received reports about schools cutting ties with the $11 billion National School Lunch Program.
The Lunch Program was developed to reimburse schools for foods served and offers them access to lower-priced meals.
Districts that eliminated the program say the reimbursement was not enough to compensate the losses from students who started avoiding the lunch meals and bringing food from home or, in some cases, just stayed hungry.
“Some of the stuff we had to offer, they wouldn’t eat,” said Catlin, Ill., Superintendent Gary Lewis, whose district saw a 10 to 12 percent decline in lunch sales, amounting to $30,000 lost under the program a year ago.
“So you sit there and watch the kids, and you know they’re hungry at the end of the day, and that led to some behavior and some lack of attentiveness.”
Districts that leave the food program can create their own policies.