Local N.Y. school districts opt out of federal lunch program

Lauren Williams's picture
Thursday, September 5, 2013

In 2012, the National School Lunch Program changed to try to make children healthier. Trouble is, schools have learned a year into the program, this only works if the children eat what you're serving.

The regulations about what can be served became stricter and more specific — like serving a full half cup of dark green, red/orange vegetables and dried beans/peas at least once a week and putting them in a separate cup.

At least three local school districts — Voorheesville, Niskayuna and Burnt Hills–Ballston Lake — and Bethlehem High School have opted out of the federal program, giving back reimbursements in order to have more flexibility in what they serve students. Because, it turns out, since the regulations took effect schools were seeing a decline in food sales as well as wasted food because students were throwing it away.

"Especially, the high school athletes were complaining that they were still hungry after eating lunch," said Burnt Hills–Ballston Lake district communications specialist Christy Multer. "Many students brought in lunch from home."

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