ALTAMONT, Ill. – Boys aren’t the only ones being left hungry by the new school lunch rules. Girls are famished, too.
“It’s just been an issue in the last few weeks,” Altamont superintendent Jeff Fritchtnitch tells the Effingham Daily News.
“It’s one thing when boys are telling us they’re hungry. They’re always hungry. It’s another thing when the volleyball players are telling us they want to leave early to get something to eat before the game.”
Fritchtnitch says the problem of students remaining hungry after eating school-cooked lunches “may be resolved” by dropping out of the National School Lunch Program.
“We’ve got kids that are complaining that they’re not getting enough food, because the guidelines are so strict, and we have to keep it that way,” the superintendent tells the paper.
The program underwent an overhaul in 2010 with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which was championed by First Lady Michelle Obama.
“They do reimburse you, but what about feeding the kids what we need to feed them?”
Nearby Effingham has already dropped out.
“The decision was made to provide the flexibility of foods that the students will eat,” Effingham Unit 40 superintendent Mark Doan says.
“The last thing you want to see is food to be thrown away.”
The paper continues:
Fritchtnitch said the potential loss of the reimbursement, as well as the cost of adapting to a new food program, are factors the district will have to consider. While higher meal prices may result if the district chooses to no longer participate in the program, it may be necessary in order to give students an option.
“We’re hungry because of a mandate and a law change, and it’s not right,” he said.
Altamont is just the latest district to weigh its options.
The Green Lake, Wisconsin district is mulling opting out of the federal program. So are the Salem and Windham districts in New Hampshire.
As for Illinois, District 214 – the state’s second-largest district – recently dropped the federal rules.
“So far so good. The meals, as you’ve seen, look fantastic, and there’s a lot of excitement,” District 214 Associate Superintendent Cathy Johnson says.