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Did District Go too Far with Healthy School Meal Standards?

St. Helena Schools re-evaluates policy after seeing 25 percent participation drop.

Since 2012, when the district adopted nutritional guidelines that are stricter than those required by the federal government, school meal participation in the St. Helena (Calif.) USD has dropped 25 percent overall, and 30 percent among students eligible for free/reduced-price meals, reports the Napa Valley Register. While enrollment has only dropped 1.7 percent over the period, the proportion of students eligible for subsidized government meals declined from 42 to 35 percent of enrollment, and only about half participate in the school meal program. As a result, the school nutrition department ran a deficit of $210,503 last year and the district is now contemplating changes such as adding more a la carte items and restoring some popular dishes that meet federal standards but not the district's stricter ones.

TAGS: K-12 Schools
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