This is not the first time a school district has quit what has been promoted as the Michelle Obama lunch program, but the fact that an Illinois school district is opting out of the system tells you it is truly an intolerable food arrangement.
The state’s second largest school district has started the school year with a new look for its lunch menu, after opting out of the National School Lunch Program and forfeiting nearly $1 million in federal funding, to gain more freedom in the food it serves students.
In May, the board for Township High School District 214 voted to drop out of the federal program, after deciding its guidelines were too restrictive. For instance, kids would not have been able to buy hard-boiled eggs or certain types of yogurt. School officials also have noted new guidelines consider hummus to be too high in fat, and pretzels to be too high in salt; non-fat milk containers larger than 12 ounces could not be sold either.
I know it is slightly off topic but I have to wonder: is current nutritional science really this hateful and hurtful? Is it really impossible to eat good food that is healthy for you and that satisfies you? Reading about these guidelines gives one the impression they are designed to produce malnourished teens that are constantly distracted by hunger. (But what do I know? I drink my coffee with butter and coconut oil.)
In any case, the school district is “rebelling.” That is how I have described other schools doing the same thing, as have many other conservatives. But some of the details in this story make me realize it is not so much about them rebelling as that they are financially forced to opt out of the Federal program. While the story claims that the school district “forfeit[ed] nearly $1 million in federal funding to gain more freedom,” it later becomes clear that they did not forfeit anything. The program effectively ended the reimbursement program.
Here’s how it worked.
Schools that serve the lunches can get a certain amount reimbursed. But in order to get reimbursed, the students must actually purchase the food. But the students stopped buying the food. So rather than get money the school district was losing money. It was spending money to acquire and prepare food that no one would buy. So the school was stuck with food and no way to cover their costs.
Johnson said, the concern was, in addition to the federal guidelines being too restrictive on menu choices, sales of the food they could offer wouldn’t be high enough to receive federal aid.
“What would happen is the sales simply wouldn’t be there, and the offerings that we would currently have wouldn’t be available,” Johnson said.
The bottom line, according to Johnson, is if schools can’t sell the healthy meals allowed under the federal program, they also wouldn’t receive any federal funding, so District 214 opted for healthy options kids would eat.
So the real story here is not heroic schools (though I am happy with their decision). The real story is that the best and brightest who came up with this plan and got Michelle Obama to push it seemed to have assumed that the students would compliantly put into their mouths whatever the Federal government dictated to them. What does it tell us about the regime that they have so completely misunderstood how the public would respond?