Kentucky district opts out of federal school meal program

Fort Thomas Independent School District leaves the program over new regulations that it says are causing increased waste.

FORT THOMAS, Ky.—The Fort Thomas Independent School District is opting out of the criteria set forth in the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.

Just for participating in the program, schools receive more than $200,000 a year. But in Fort Thomas, after seeing how it's gone over the last few years, the district feels it's worth the sacrifice to move forward on their own.

"We're not going to force kids to take things they don't want," said Superintendent Gene Kirchner.

More than 90% of our nation's schools are on board with the national school lunch program. The program dictates lower calories and more whole grain and vegetable options in the cafeteria.

"Right now our program is headed in the wrong direction, and we feel like we've lost control," said Kirchner.

Superintendent Kirchner says as a district, they're down about 166 meals per day since 2010, and even those participating are wasteful.

"We're watching kids after they go past the cash register, throw away what they were forced to take in the lunch line, and that's just sad," said Kirchner.

"It wasn't the best food, I mean it could be better," said Emily Uchtmann.

Even the students say the food isn't exactly tasty and often times the portions are too small. These soon to be freshman say they're thrilled about having more freedom during lunch.

"I'm excited because that means I don't have to go off campus for lunch as much," said student Emily Uchtmann.

Is it worth missing out on all this extra lunch money?

Kirchner acknowledges it is a concern because annually they'll have to make up around  $260,000 to $270,000 a year. 

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

In an effort to reduce turnover, lunchroom supervisors at elementary schools in a Chicago-area district will see an increase in pay at the start of the new school year, the Chicago Tribune reports .

The board of education for Park Ridge-Niles School District 64 on Aug. 8 approved a proposal to increase wages for those supervisors, boosting starting pay from from $12 to $14 an hour. Returning employees who already earn above the new rate will see an hourly increase of 2%.

Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Joel Martin said he hopes the increased wages will allow...

Ideas and Innovation
coffee shop trailor graphic

A familiar face is coming to the roads of Rutgers University this fall: the Starbucks mermaid. The New Brunswick, N.J.-based school is testing a Starbucks truck throughout the upcoming semester, NJ.com reports . The company began testing trucks on college campuses in 2014, and now has mobile locations at Arizona State University, James Madison University in Virginia, East Carolina University in North Carolina and Sacramento State in California.

The trucks will serve the full lineup of Starbucks beverages that’s available at the outlet’s brick-and-mortar location at Rutgers,...

Industry News & Opinion

A study from Virginia Tech has found a connection between school meal participation and obesity in students. From data that predates the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act , the findings raise questions over whether nutrition standards go far enough.

The research evaluated data from 1998 to 2007, comparing first through eighth grade students who partook in free and reduced-price lunch and those who qualified but opted out. Wen You, associate professor in the Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech, says she expected to validate theories that increased breakfast...

Industry News & Opinion

Buffalo Public Schools is turning to local chefs and a little competition to help create new menu items, the Buffalo News reports .

In October, local chefs will compete against each other and a team of seven to 10 students led by chef Bobby Anderson, a former contestant on “Hell’s Kitchen,” to create lunch recipes that comply with USDA nutritional requirements and use seasonal produce sourced locally.

“This Chef Challenge is another way to engage our youth in a fun, friendly competition with local area chefs who can help create appealing recipes that will be incorporated...

FSD Resources