Federal Rules, Budget Losses, Change Lunch Program
Story by: Lake Breeze Newspaper
We, the Lake Breeze, believe that the change in the lunch system isn’t going to help raise student participation and make the program financially solvent.
Chad Jensema, Coordinator of Auxiliary Services, said that this year’s changes were the biggest changes made in 15 years. In previous years, South had an a la carte line, which consisted of foods from Pizza Hut, Theo’s Pizza, and Subway, and a school lunch system line. This year, both sides of the kitchen consist of lunches provided from the school district.
There are two main reasons why they changed the lunch system. One reason is, the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs now require a certain number of servings for each nutritional group and a guided amount of calories, which is 750-850 calories for high school students. The new lunch program also requires select components.
For example, each student should have a serving of protein, grain, at least one vegetable or fruit, and also a carton of milk or chocolate milk. The new system has students using their activity cards, but it is also possible to use cash.
The other reason for the change was because last year the entire school district lunch program lost about $270,000. A meal now costs $2.65, which is 10 cents more than last year. The price was raised because the school system was losing money on the school lunch program. The price was raised because the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program need certain ingredients in the food, which is determined by the government.
“We are really excited, because we have more students participating,” said Jensema.
This year, there is about a two percent increase in students using the school lunch program, compared to last year. Jensema wants a five percent increase overall, which would bring back the $270,000 loss from last year. Jensema stated that about 300 students (out of a total population of 1,150 students) a day go through the lunch line at South and that they work really hard to get even more students participating in the lunch program. This year, there have been more students buying school subs, compared to sales of Subway subs last year.
“One of the biggest reasons why so many students like this years meal, is that you can take the pizza, the wrap or the subs as a meal,” stated Jensema. He also said that he wants to see more students participating, and he believes that a reason why not as many students participate in the program is because of the open campus for lunch. Jensema isn’t really worried about the South High Red Zone, which also sells food like nachos with cheese, chicken noodle soup, pretzels and many other things, but would just like to focus on improving the school lunches. We, the Lake Breeze, think that there may be more students participating with a two increase improvement, but students don’t like all the new foods and the school should have just kept the a la carte line and foods.
“It’s decent, I don’t like the pizza’’ stated junior America Espinoza. Sophomore Daniela Ceron said “I like it, but last year’s lunch was better.’’ “I liked last year’s a la carte better,” commented junior Samantha Mendez.
We, the Lake Breeze, believe the two percent increase is not enough to go on to support the change. More students must participate in the school lunch program or prices have to increase to have the program at least break even every year. Jensema stated that he would appreciate all opinions/ideas on how to improve the lunch program.