School Lunch Sales Down

Based on cost and choices; School Committee to review choices in February.

Lunches at city schools are not selling like proverbial hotcakes.

Why not? Two reasons, according to discussion at last Wednesday’s School Committee meeting.

First, the price for a school lunch rose this school year at the elementary and middle schools.

Second, students don’t seem to like the menu changes made to comply with anticipated state and federal regulations, particularly the wheat options.

School Committee member John Wells presented that information as chairman of the committee’s Finance Subcommittee.

The number of lunches served is down by “a good amount,” he said. He did not offer a more specific figure. The committee anticipated that fewer students would buy school lunches if the committee raised the prices for this school year, Wells said.

Other communities are seeing similar drops in students’ lunch-buying, he said, based on their food choices.

The committee will look at food choices here in February. The schools’ food and nutrition services manager acted pro-actively in changing the menu, according to Joesph Elia, school assistant superintendent for finance and operations but, he said, Congress did not pass those nutritional requirements.

The price of an elementary school lunch is $2.25, up from $2; and a middle school lunch, $2.50, up from $2.25. The price of a high school lunch is $2.75.

Reduced price and free lunches are available based on a family’s income and other state criteria. Applications are available on line (woburnpublicschools.com). For more information, call the school Food and Nutrition office at 781-937-8210, x 133.

Breakfast is also served at three city elementary schools, Wells noted. They are the , and Schools. Breakfast is also available at and both the and Middle Schools.  Breakfast costs $1; the reduce price is 30 cents.

The food served at city schools has to be nutritious, commented School Committee member Denis Russell, and also “what kids like.”

Kelly December 06, 2011 at 05:27 PM
Thanks Irene, I "GET" the policy is in place everywhere and needed for people abusing check writting. Unfortunely the policy also changed how much money I spend on lunches in Woburn Schools & shed light on how many others HAD this same issue??? Needless to say, things happen for a REASON, NOW my children eat MUCH better food & I realize there are more TOWN policies that do MORE HARM than GOOD! A private catering business for HEALTHY kid lunches just may be the NEXT GREAT idea....ya just never know! Thanks Irene for understanding.
William December 06, 2011 at 09:40 PM
When the government runs something it is, in most cases, done poorly. Why should school lunches be any different? The cost increase has far less to do with food quality/selection and far more to do with supplementing the ever growing "free" and "reduced" lunches being served. I have 3 children in the system. We pack a lunch for them every day; Better quality, better nutrition, lower cost and 100% parental influence.
nancy December 06, 2011 at 09:50 PM
lunches are high for families with 3 or more. adds up not surprised that sales are down
Anne December 06, 2011 at 11:55 PM
Had this conversation with 2 school committee members last year when they started to change the foods offered. I suggested that children would not eat brown pasta or anything that did not look appetizing and in that vain lunch prices would need to be increased. Boy, did I hit the nail on the head. They also took hot dogs (the all American food) off the menu. Will they also take hot dogs off the menu at school barbecues? And now the school officials are looking to renew efforts in increasing free-and-reduced lunch participation because the district is reimbursed by the federal government for those meals. In the end, who do you think really pays? The taxpayer, of course.
Liz December 07, 2011 at 01:49 PM
You must be upset that they're no longer serving peanut butter and jelly too!?!? What a terrible thing - to encourage kids to eat healthier, more nutritious food without nitrates, preservatives, additives and other chemicals......my heart goes out to you for the elimination of hot dogs on the school lunch menu, truly.


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