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

Sponsored Content
Mrs. T’s pierogies

From Mrs. T’s Foodservice.

Today’s college and university students demand customization, but they also seek out creative riffs on familiar dishes, making comfort food an area of opportunity for college & university operators.

This is especially true as more restaurants across all sectors add comfort-food favorites such as meatloaf, potato tots and loaded fries to menus.

Operators are already starting to see how a comforting, customizable ingredient such as pierogies meets those needs: Menu mentions of pierogies as an entree are up 9.3% over the last two years,...

Sponsored Content
local produce

From WinCup.

Today’s students care deeply about sustainability—much more so than the general population. For them, sustainable practices are visit drivers. What’s more, some 57% of students are willing to pay more for sustainable foods, according to Technomic’s recent College & University Consumer Trend Report . Sustainable claims drive visits, especially for young consumers: Some 31% of Gen Zers say they’re more likely to visit restaurants that try to be sustainable.

Students are looking for foodservice operations with comprehensive sustainability programs, and...

Industry News & Opinion

Mayfield High School in Mayfield, Ohio, has opened a coffee cart in its cafeteria, The News-Herald reports .

Open throughout the day, the cart sells 12-ounce cups of coffee for $2 each. Students were able to taste-test some of the offerings and were also involved in choosing the cart’s name.

The drinks are made with low-fat milk and unsweetened flavor syrups, and soy milk is on hand for those with allergies. To encourage more breakfast participation, the school gives students 50 percent off coffee when they also buy a breakfast item. Additionally, the cart is stationed next...

Sponsored Content
boston college acai bowl

From Dannon Foodservice.

Catering to the go-go-go lifestyle of university students is a challenge, and it’s one that Boston College dining representatives wrestle with daily.

“Students don’t just want to eat dinner between 5 and 7 p.m.,” says Beth Emery, the school’s director of dining. “They may want to eat dinner at 9 o’clock. We’ve been trying to come up with creative solutions.”

Those creative solutions include everything from offering breakfast items throughout the day to providing healthier late-night choices to trolling social media for trendy new menu ideas...

FSD Resources