Three years ago, President Obama signed the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act into law. "So we need a meat or meat alternative compoment, a bread compoment, milk component, fruit and vegetable, and the vegetable component is actually broken up into colors," says Shane Bosaw, the Food Services Director for Webster County Schools.
We're seeing that law now being implemented into higher standards for school lunches across the country, including in Webster County. "In the past, you had a lot more leeway with your ability to serve the same thing over and over, so you do have a little more variety this year," Bosaw says.
The federal government sends the Webster County schools system $2.50 for each free or reduced price meal it serves, however students paying their own lunch only pay $1.90, but the cost of each meal is only about a $1.50. "The rest of the money goes to insurance, staff, equipment, we're completely self sufficient. We do not receive any money from the board of education," says Bosaw.
The federal government says if it is paying $2.50 for a meal, it wants all meals to be worth $2.50. But can Webster County meet the challenge of finding healthy, tasty meals, that also meet its budget?
What this all boils down to is that students paying full price for school lunches in Webster County will be paying more for lunch next year. The state says you can't raise school lunch prices more than 10 cents more per year, so although the U.S.D.A's guidelines may force Webster County Schools to eventually charge $2.50 per lunch, it'll be at least 6 years before that happens.