News Local/State

Catlin Supt: More Schools Opting Out of Federal Lunch Program


The Superintendent at the Catlin School District says he’s starting to serve as an example for schools elsewhere who have opted out of the federally-operated school lunch program.

Gary Lewis made the decision after the spring semester after cafeteria staff told him a lot of the vegetables and whole grains they were serving wound up in the garbage. 

He said the food options prompted many to bring their lunch - or skip lunch altogether.

He said the district is losing about $30,000 dollars in reimbursement from the National School Lunch Program, but Lewis says that can be made up with a slight increase in lunch prices over about 80 school days.  

He said after seven days of this school year - the Catlin district is $200 ahead of where it was in 2012.

Lewis said the menu isn’t that different from last year.

“We offer a fresh fruit and fresh vegetable every day," he said.  "The kids just have more choices.  Mangos are coming on the menu next month.  It offers us a choice to find us what the kids will eat.  And we can continue to go back to that, knowing what they like.  And if they don’t like something, they let us know.”

Catlin schools are also distributing a survey to students to see what they want for lunch.

After being nationally quoted by the Associated Press on his changes with the lunch menu, Lewis says he’s had calls from school districts as close as Chicago… and as far as Texas.