MUNDELEIN, Ill. – Another Chicagoland school district is throwing its students a bone – or at least larger lunch portions.
Mundelein High School District 120 is officially dropping out of the National School Lunch Program, making it at least the second one in the Chicago area to do so this school year.
Leaving the federal program allows the school “total flexibility to design the food service to our students’ needs,” Superintendent Kevin Myers tells the Daily Herald.
According to district leaders, lunch sales have fallen about 6 percent since last school year. The school has about 2,000 students enrolled.
Despite giving up the tighter “healthy” restrictions championed by First Lady Michelle Obama, the school will not be giving up on quality or the healthiness of lunches.
“Nutrition and good choices would also be a significant component of the wellness committee’s work,” business manager Andy Searle says. The committee with be tasked with creating new rules.
A major complaint was that portion sizes were too small, especially for high schoolers.
Searle hopes the increase in sales – and a slight increase in price – will offset the loss of federal subsidies, which is pegged at about $325,000, according to the paper.
Mundelein isn’t along in ditching the program. Other Chicago-area districts include Stevenson District 125, Maine District 207 and Glenbrook District 225.
Arlington Heights-based Northwest Suburban High School District 214 left after hummus was deemed too fatty and pretzels were too salty. Even hard-boiled eggs and yogurt don’t make the cut.
“So far so good. The meals, as you’ve seen, look fantastic, and there’s a lot of excitement,” District 214 Associate Superintendent Cathy Johnson told CBS as officials unveiled their new menu at the beginning of the school year.
Now, some 3 months later, meal purchases have increased about 20 percent from last year, Mundelein leaders tell the Daily Herald.
The district gave up about $1 million in revenue from the federal government to participate in the program.