Fort Thomas Independent Schools in Northern Kentucky have decided to get out of the federal school lunch program, specifically because of the requirements imposed in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act championed by First Lady Michelle Obama. Simply put, the district is tired of being forced to give kids food they won't eat.
Until it ran into problems, HHFA was seen as Mrs. Obama's signature achievement, and the press fawned over its alleged awesomeness. Now that the program has encountered fierce real-world resistance, her association with it seems to have vanished from many press reports. One such report was filed by the Associated Press last month from the School Nutrition Association's annual convention in Boston. A local example appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer Saturday evening. Excerpts from that report by Jessica Brown follow the jump (bolds are mine):
District drops federal lunch program
Lunch at Fort Thomas Independent Schools may include more French fries, fewer vegetables and larger portions this year. One thing that won't be on the menu: federal dollars.
The Campbell County district is opting out of the federal school lunch program, forfeiting hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal funding.
The reason: Kids didn't like their healthful lunches.
"The calorie limitations and types of foods that have to be provided ... have resulted in the kids just saying 'I'm not going to eat that,'" Fort Thomas Superintendent Gene Kirchner said.
The 2,800-student district joins a small but growing number of school districts across the country – mostly wealthy districts who can afford to forfeit the money – who have dropped out of the federal program in the wake of stricter nutritional standards.
Schools said students don't like the unsalted potatoes, low-fat cheese or the mandatory fruits and vegetables. They throw food away or decide not to eat at all.
In Kirchner's district, 166 fewer students bought lunch every day last year – 30,000 fewer a year. Instead they brought lunch from home, went to nearby restaurants or skipped lunch altogether.
... Nationwide, 1 million fewer students are choosing a school lunch each day, according to the National School Nutrition Association.
... The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act came up with new nutrition standards in 2010 calling for lower sodium, more whole grains and more fruits and vegetables. It was a way to combat growing childhood obesity and encourage healthy eating. It also put limitations on fat and calories. The standards went into effect last year.
Brown went on to identify the HHFA-mandated changes in vegetables, whole grains, milk, sodium, and calories. You would think that after going to all that trouble, she would have gotten around to telling us who was behind them. Nope.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.