By Kyle Olson
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As schools continue to grapple with the school lunch menu overhaul pushed by First Lady Michelle Obama, some are realizing their headache isn’t just from a lack of food.
The program involves way too much green – and we’re not talking lettuce and brussel sprouts.
We mean the estimated $3.2 billion schools will have to find to implement the new federal regulations. Many schools are also losing money due the unpopular Obama menu.
“New school lunch regulations mean financial losses for Pittsfield Public Schools,” reported The Berkshire Eagle in Massachusetts.
The school district expects a program operating loss of more than $100,000 due to a required equipment upgrade, as well as fewer lunches and snacks being sold.
Congressman Todd Rokita, a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, noted at a recent hearing, “Because the law requires students to take fruits and vegetables for lunch, even if they have no intention of eating them, schools are struggling with increased waste. After implementing the new standards a year early, one Florida school district estimated students threw out $75,000 worth of food.”
“At Dedham High School in Massachusetts, providing the required vegetables in 1500 meals each week costs the district about $111 a day – but administrators report many students just throw the fresh vegetables right into the trash,” his statement read.
A New York district experienced a 50 percent decline in the number of student purchasing hot lunch.
“This decline in participation made it more difficult for the school to afford to serve lunches and breakfasts that met the federal meal requirements. As a result, the district’s food operation went $59,000 in the red and local leaders ultimately decided to opt-out of the National School Lunch Program,” Rokita said.
The USDA estimates implementation of the new guidelines will cost $3.2 billion over five years. Given that it’s a government estimate – and if Obamacare is any guide – the cost for schools will likely be much higher.