DC to Outsource School Meal Program

The District of Columbia Public Schools plans to outsource management of its foodservice operations. The District says it lost $9.5 million in 2006, and projects losses of $10.8 million in 2007 and $11.6 million in 2008, largely because of poor participation rates and an inability to qualify a sufficient number of eligible students for meal reimbursement through the federal school lunch program.

Lunch participation among high schoolers is under 40 percent, well under the 70 percent benchmark the district cites as standard at most other urban school districts. Last year, DC Nutrition Services served more than 8.8 million breakfasts, lunches and snacks to students.