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Posted June 21st 2011, 1:01pm
Mhays wrote:Actually, yes there is ...

I don't see anything in the document that is inconsistent with what I said.

I don't know of any regulation that says a school can only fund the lunch program by either charging non-eligible kids for their meals or by getting USDA money. Perhaps you can point me to such a rule.

Posted June 21st 2011, 1:05pm
Mhays wrote:Just realizing that I didn't answer the question entirely - so, since it's essentially a stand-alone program, you can't juggle numbers with the school budget and add some to the lunch program like you could with math or reading. The reimbursement rate and student payment is completely separate from the school district's budget. Cash-strapped districts faced with cutting instructors are not about to touch a line item that has its own income.

I have heard that some districts use their capitol improvement money to pay for kitchen upgrades, though.

I think we are talking at cross-purposes. You seem to be making a prediction about what would happen. I'm simply saying that schools have options. As I asked in my last post, is there anything that legally prevents a school from running a lunch program that doesn't cover its costs?
Posted June 21st 2011, 2:43pm
There is a legal obligation to keep the lunch budget separate from the school budget, as it is separately audited by the state on behalf of the Federal government.

I do know that some states offer more reimbursement for these costs - however, school budgets fall under state and local guidelines. and are generally extremely proscribed. In Illinois, for instance, school budget expenditures are expected to fall under the following areas:

10 Educational
20 Operations & Maintenance
30 Debt Service
40 Transportation
50 Municipal Retirement/Social Security
60 Capital Projects
70 Working Cash
80 Tort
90 Fire Prevention & Safety

You will note that school food/nutrition is not included as a possible category. While there does not seem to be a specific law precluding a district's budget from going to school lunch, effectively the way school budgets are allocated prevents school monies from going to the program. I can't find this information for Illinois, but here's a great breakdown of the system in California. Note that transfers from a school's general fund to the school lunch program to covers shortfalls are called "encroachment"

Many of the "magic" school lunch transformations that you hear about take place in private schools that have a) an existing kitchen and b) no specific fund restrictions.


Posted June 21st 2011, 2:52pm
Actually, you'll see on page 8 of that document that costs for providing lunches are allocated to group 10, the educational fund.

Mhays wrote:There is a legal obligation to keep the lunch budget separate from the school budget, as it is separately audited by the state on behalf of the Federal government.

Keeping a separate budget is not the same thing as requiring a specific revenue stream or requiring that the lunch budget is in balance. I presume you did not mean to imply that it did.

In any case, there isn't much point in belaboring this. It will be interesting to see which Illinois schools opt-in to this program. I am sure that many schools will view this decision through the lens that you've described and will simply calculate whether the new subsidy is larger or smaller than the one they previously received.
Posted August 17th 2011, 8:17am
Schools Restore Fresh Cooking to the Cafeteria - http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/17/educa ... ml?_r=1&hp

"You don't need a silver fork to eat good food."
Paul Prudhomme
Posted August 30th 2011, 8:01am
There is a petition circulating on the 'net to push Congress into starting a healthy lunch program. http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/735/579/501/

Mods - if this is inappropriate, feel free to delete.

I want to have a good body, but not as much as I want dessert. ~ Jason Love
There is no pie in Nighthawks, which is why it's such a desolate image. ~ Happy Stomach
In the world of apples, Pink Lady runs the whorehouse. ~ James Napoli

Late-Nite Eats Database
Posted October 5th 2011, 9:59am
After a year of bagel dogs and Salisbury steak, anonymously critiquing the school fare on her blog, Fed Up With Lunch, Mrs. Q has revealed herself as Sarah Wu, a CPS speech pathologist.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/loca ... 5446.story

"You don't need a silver fork to eat good food."
Paul Prudhomme
Posted January 25th 2012, 11:29pm
Hi- While I was checking my email a few minutes ago, I noticed that the federal government is revamping the school lunch program. This is the first time in 15 years the regulations have been revamped. School lunches will now be required to contain more fruits and vegetables and less sodium.

http://news.yahoo.com/school-lunches-mo ... 52471.html

I know that part of the problem is that many school lunch programs do not cook from scratch, and just reheat chicken mcnuggets or whatever, because it is easier. I just saw a segment on TV a few days ago, where lunch ladies were being trained to cook from scratch again. I can's remember which program I saw it on. It might have been on Nightline or a similar program, or on CNN.

Michele Obama apparently had a hand in this. Hope this helps, Nancy

Posted January 27th 2012, 1:56pm
With the news a few days ago about new federal standards for school meals, I was rereading posts in this thread and reading accounts of school lunches of the past. It is striking that most of the issues we raised in the last few years here were considered and addressed a century ago. The passages below are all from Food Timeline: School Lunches. For example,

Why serving nutritious lunches for school children is a necessity (from Mary Swartz Rose, PhD, assistant professor, Dept. of Nutrition, Teachers College, Columbia University, Feeding the Family, NY: MacMillan, 1917):
In many of our large cities and industrial centers the elementary school luncheon has long since passed the experimental stage and is regarded as a valuable part of the school training as well as a safeguard for the health of the child. Very often the pioneer work has been done by women's clubs or philanthropic organizations which have assumed the task of demonstrating to school authorities the practicability and value of such feeding. The expensive machinery of education is wasted when it operates on a mind listless from hunger or befogged by indigestible food. Whether the cause be poverty, ignorance, or carelessness, the child is the sufferer, and the painstaking work of the school lunch supervisors to secure wholesome and adequate noon meals for the school children at a minimum cost not only brings immediate benefit to the children, but exerts a widespread influence upon homes and parents, as the children carry to them reports of these concrete lessons in the science of proper selection, preparation, and hygiene of food. The school luncheon must be simple, easily served and economical. It may consist of a hot dish, with some form of bread, and a choice of about two sweet dishes; milk or cocoa should always be obtainable.

Dr. Rose gives an example of a menu from Philadelphia:
A week's menu as actually served by the School Lunch Committee of the Home and School League in Philadelphia is given below:

Weekly menu in school with penny lunches and five-cent noon dinner
Monday: (1) Baked beans and roll, 5 cents (2) Cocoa or milk, 2 cents; crackers or ice cream, 1 cent
Tuesday: (1) Vegetable soup and roll, 5 cents (2) Same choice as Monday
Wednesday: (1) Creamed beef on toast and roll, 5 cents (2) See Monday. Dates 1 cent
Thursday: (1) Macaroni with tomato sauce and roll, 5 cents (2) See Monday. Jam sandwich, 1 cent
Friday: (1) Creamed salmon and roll, 5 cents (1) See Monday

It seems rather short in the vegetable and fruit departments, although meat is only served once.

How to get kids to eat what’s better for them rather than junk food (also from Rose's book):
Many high school children do not go home for the noon meal. In fact, the custom of providing meals at school began in America with the high school, and most city schools have lunch rooms. Sometimes these are let by contract and there is no skilled supervision of the food supply. But with the spread of the carefully supervised elementary school luncheon attention has been directed to the real needs of the high school youth and the opportunities for education in good eating habits. An interesting attempt to help the pupil to choose wisely is shown in the Menu Bulletin of the Julia Richman High School in New York City:

Julia Richman High School
Lunch Service
Menu Bulletin No. 37

N.B. You require 800 balanced Calories for Lunch. Purchase the items which give you this quantity.

Split pea, bread and butter...Calories: 310; Price, 5 cents
Hot dish:
Veal stew with vegetables, bread and butter...Calories: 350; Price, 10 cents
Lima beans...Calories: 125; Price, 3 cents
Date nut on graham bread...Calories: 245; Price, 4 cents
Chopped egg...Calories: 200; Price, 4 cents
Raisin layer cake...Calories: 300; Price, 5 cents
Horton's ice cream...Calories: 200; Price, 5 cents
Bread pudding, chocolate sauce...Calories: 275; Price, 4 cents
Baked apple and cream...Calories: 120; Price, 3 cents
Apple...Calories: 50; Price, 1 cent
Cecilias...Calories: 100; Price, 3 for 1 cent
Fireside peanut jumbles...Calories: 110; Price, 2 for 1 cent
Sweet milk chocolate, large bars...Calories: 500; Price, 5 cents
Almond bars...Calories: 600; Price, 5 cents
Assorted penny candy...Calories: 100; Price, 1 cent
Milk...Calories: 140; Price. 3 cents
Cocoa...Calories: 110; Price, 3 cents
White or graham, with butter...Calories: 185; Price, 2 cents

The result of the educational work done here is clearly demonstrated in the change of demand for food. The first few days of the service, the candy and pastry tables were the chief points of purchase, more than half of the receipts coming from that source. About 30 bowls of soup were sold and 15 to 20 other hot dishes. Within four weeks from the commencement of the service were selling an average of 80 to 90 bowls of soup and 40 to 60 other hot dishes.

And even this early, there is a branded product served: Horton's ice cream.
Posted February 1st 2012, 4:28pm
Mark Bittman's perspective on the recent changes - http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/20 ... ref=dining

"You don't need a silver fork to eat good food."
Paul Prudhomme
Posted February 1st 2012, 9:01pm
Mark Bittman's perspective on the recent changes - http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/20 ... ref=dining

I find it disturbing that Bittman is such a virulent Tater Hater.

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