Pennsylvania district drops out of national school meals program

The high school will forego the federal program to maintain its $400,000 in a la carte sales.

SOUTH FAYETTE, Pa.—South Fayette High School will opt out of the federal School Lunch and Breakfast Program — and in turn, federal funding — due to concerns over stricter nutritional guidelines.

The guidelines, which took effect July 1, would place a burden on the high school cafeteria, food service director Tricia Wood said. The cafeteria contains a food court with a la carte options and stations, such as a deli bar and soup and salad bar.

“Our menu will stay the same as it was last year,” Wood said. “This is not a step down from what we have done in the past.”

By opting out, the high school will not receive federal reimbursement for free and reduced lunches and breakfasts. The elementary, intermediate and middle schools will remain enrolled in the program.

The high school serves about 10,000 free and reduced lunches a year, Wood said, but with a la carte sales reaching nearly $400,000 each year, the benefits outweigh the costs.

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