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School nutrition trending: SNA survey finds schools operating at a loss, scratch cooking in California and chicken soup for the soul

Plus, Chartwells’ Mood Boost teaches the connection between how students feel and what they eat and Oakland Unified School District navigates school meal participation challenges

This month in K-12 trending stories, a new survey from the School Nutrition Association found that 54% of responding school districts reported a financial loss in the 2019-2020 school year, and 62% anticipate a loss in 2020-2021—another 28% say they are unsure of what to expect. Furthermore, of the 844 districts that reported losses last school year, the median was a $150,000 deficit overall, rising to $2.3 million for districts with enrollments of 25,000 or more. 

Unsurprisingly, financial loss was by far the top concern reported on the survey, cited by 93% of respondents.

And while the coronavirus pandemic brought with it many challenges, foodservice operators learned how to innovate to meet students new needs. One school foodservice team in Ojai, Calif., is going against the grain, digging into scratch cooking, which they’ve found can be more economic while being more appealing to kids.

We know times are hard now and foodservice operators are doing all they can to get by. So Food Management decided to search social media in the K-12 space and find soul-warming moments on apps that can sometimes feel like dark holes. Check out those feel-good moments here.

See what else was trending this month in K-12 foodservice.

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