An analysis by a team of USDA researchers of data from a large national sample reveals that costs of offering school meals has sharp differences among rural, urban, and suburban providers and across regions. The highest costs occurred in Mid-Atlantic, suburban districts, where the costs were 35 cents above the national average, and the lowest in Southwest, urban districts, where the cost was about 38 cents less than the national average. The study found that differences in food costs explained the largest share of this variation. The study can be found here .
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