Thanks to the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, school lunches are about to get a price hike.
The HHFKA was touted as a way to include more healthy foods in school lunches from Kindergarten through high school, but it’s proving to be a very expensive measure with unintended consequences.
Wythe County schools in Virginia are telling parents they will need to pay more for their students’ lunches in the next school year. The HHFKA requires that districts charge as much for each meal as is being reimbursed to the district for free and reduced lunch program meals. For Wythe County, that means a 10 cent increase for families not on the program.
According to Dr. Wesley Poole, director of facilities and operations for the district, keeping in compliance with the Act will be difficult as the reimbursement amounts change frequently.
The new law also imposes strict rules on calorie counts and nutritional requirements. In Somerset, Pennsylvania, the Berlin school district has been feeling the affects of smaller meal sizes in order to comply.
“It’s difficult to justify raising prices when we have smaller portions for students,” school board member Terry Metzgar told The Daily American, a local newspaper.
He explained that it’s difficult to find a “happy medium” because all students are not the same size and require different amounts of food at lunchtime.
With rising food costs, many districts have had to resort to smaller portion sizes to meet the new calorie standards.
The Heathy Hunger Free Kids Act, though championed by First Lady Michelle Obama as a method to reduce childhood obesity, is laced with environmental policy, Department of Agriculture initiatives and has strayed very far from the original intended purposes of the school lunch program. Read more here and here.
Every school district in the United States has to comply with the new school lunch standards or risk losing funding for free and reduced lunches.