District loses money over healthier school meals

A revamped healthier cookie recipe cost the district $26,000 in lost revenue.

July 25—Students in the Tomah Area School District gave a thumbs-down to healthier school lunch menus.

Business manager Greg Gaarder told the Tomah School Board July 15 that revenues for the school hot lunch program fell by nearly $75,000 last year and wiped out the food service’s fund balance.

Gaarder and food service director Jesse Bender blamed the drop on menu changes designed to improve nutrition, provide fresh fruits and vegetables and reduce the amount of fat and sodium.

A change in a cookie recipe alone accounted for $26,000 in lost revenue.

“There was less appeal,” Bender said.

Gaarder said the district needs to consider changes if the food service is to remain self-sustaining. Without changes, Gaarder said the district would be forced to dip into general funds.