This approach could work with a lot of things. Don't want to force Ky kids to take the federally mandated annual testing? Kentucky could just deny federal funds, and go its own way. Of course, that's very expensive and there's no way our legislature (or citizens) would support the necessary (huge) tax increases.
This from WLWT (Video):
Ft. Thomas superintendent: School lunch rules good idea gone too far
School lunches are very different now than they were a few years ago, and in some districts, they are not as popular either.
New federal guidelines force kids to eat healthy and districts have to follow the rules, or risk losing federal funding.
One district has decided the rules are a good idea that's gone too far, so they're dropping out.
When kids head back to school at Highlands High School, they’re going to see more of their favorites on the school lunch menu, and bigger portions, too. That’s because the district has decided to opt out of the federal school lunch program.
They’ll forgo federal money for free and reduced price lunches, along with federal money for commodities, in order to avoid the menu restrictions that go along with the money.
Over the past few years, fewer kids are buying school lunch at Highlands High School, and the ones who do buy, don’t necessarily eat what’s put on their tray.
“We watch children every day walk past the cash register and then throw away things that we are forced, have forced them to take essentially, as a result of the federal requirements for lunches,” said Gene Kirchner, the superintendent of Fort Thomas Independent Schools.
His district will lose approximately $200,000 this school year and $260,000 in future years by opting out of the federal program, but he believes it’s worth it.
He says kids are packing lunch, skipping lunch, or at the high school level, traveling off-campus to eat.
“There’s no guarantee that the things they bring from home are healthier, or that if they stop by the minute market on the way to school and what they grabbed at that point is a healthier option,” Kirchner said.
The planning is going on now in the Highlands cafeteria for the new school year, and it will bring a different menu that’s still healthy, but not as restrictive as the federal guidelines require.
Kids will see more options on any given day and their favorites will be offered more often. Things like French fries may have only been on the menu once or twice a month because of concerns about fat and salt – that will change.
Fort Thomas Independent Schools may be the only district in Kentucky that has opted out of the federal school lunch program, but the superintendent believes it’s the best move.
“We feel like, based on the way it’s going, we can do a better job locally than the federal
government can in regards to what our kids in Fort Thomas want,” Kirchner said.
The district hopes to make-up money they’ve lost through federal funding by serving more school lunches. Free and reduced price lunches will still be available, with the district now absorbing the cost.
The program is an experiment that will be monitored to make sure it makes financial sense.