Students in Ft. Thomas to get more choices for lunch as district opts out of federal lunch program

08/12/2014 06:32 PM

FT. THOMAS – As fewer students are purchasing their lunch at schools around the United States because of federally mandated food options, one northern Kentucky school district is opting out of the regulations in the hopes that students will begin purchasing their lunch at school again.

According to the National Nutrition Association, 1 million fewer students nationwide are buying school lunches which means less money for school districts.

Many believe that federal restrictions placed on what types of foods that school districts are allowed to serve to their students is a major reason for the decline.

The 2,800 student Ft. Thomas Independent School District in Northern Kentucky, which saw 30,000 less meals purchased during the 2013-14 school year, has made the bold move to opt out of the federal school lunch program and it’s regulations for this year and provide more choices for their students that will hopefully get kids and district employees to start purchasing meals again from the district.

By exiting out of the federal program, the district will lose approximately $260,000 annually in federal funds.

“We hope to offset that coast within the scope of our cafeteria program by increasing the participation, regaining the participation that’s been lost, and, indeed, capturing more with sales,” Ft. Thomas Superintendent Gene Kirchner said. “You know, kids want choice. We will offer healthy, well balanced meals and choices, within the scope of our offerings, such that the kids can choose from a variety of things.”

17 percent of students in the district qualify for free and reduced lunch and they will still receive them with the districts school lunch program providing the funding.

Kirchner has been contacted by media outlets around the country to talk about his districts action.


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