New York district opts back in to National School Lunch Program

After dropping out of the program, Voorheesville Central School District racked up nearly a $100K deficit last year.

VOORHEESVILLE, N.Y. — Voorheesville schools were in the vanguard of districts opposing more strict federal school lunch program guidelines, but an ongoing operating deficit has forced the district back in line.

After the books were closed for the 2013-14 school year, Voorheesville Central School District’s lunch fund had a deficit of almost $90,500. Inventive initiatives were developed to help replace the loss of federal funding, such as offering freshly cooked dinners through its Meals to Go program, but the gap proved too great. Students so far appear more welcoming to the federal standards, which have been eased up some since the district opted out during the 2012-13 school year.

Voorheesville, like other districts, saw the number of lunches sold decreasing as food waste was increasing. Less than six months after implementing the new federal standards, school officials tossed it aside. The move brought more flexibility but less revenue.

Tim Mulligan, chef and district cook manager, had told Spotlight News in January that opting out of the federal standards was the right move to bring its lunch program into the black. At that time, the program was operating at less of a net loss than the prior year.

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