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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fort Thomas Independent Lunch Revenue Increases After Opting Out Of Federal School Lunch Program

The Fort Thomas Independent Schools Board of Education Office. FTM file.
After abandoning the federal school lunch program at the end of last school year, the Fort Thomas Independent School District saw a significant increase in the lunch sales in the 2014-2015 year.

FTIS School Superintendent Dr. Gene Kirchner pointed out the district turned away about $260,000 in federal funding by leaving the program, but instead of a projected $160,000 shortfall, the district fell about $40,000 short of breaking even.

The gross revenue for the last school year was $1,188,213.00.

The decrease in the number of lunch sales between the 2012-13 and the 2013-14 school year was about 20,000 lunches. The district served 259,233 in 2012-2013 and just 239,586 in 2013-2014. The 2011-12 school year saw 269,621 lunches served in the district.

"The students definitely liked the changes and purchased more food," Kirchner said. "In addition, much less unwanted food was thrown away in our cafeterias."

But Kirchner also said the district did not raise the lunch prices last year. But they will be increased by 25 cents this year in hopes of recovering the shortfall. Lunches will be $3 at the elementary schools and $3.25 at the secondary schools with adults paying $3.75.

"That is the goal with the cafeteria program," Kirchner said. "It is not meant to be a revenue source."

FTIS does have students who qualify for free and reduced lunches. Jon Stratton, FTIS Assistant Superintendent for Student Services, said it is about 14 percent of the district.

"The Board of Education and the food service program have to bear that cost now that we are no longer participating in the Federal Lunch Program," Stratton said. "No other program pays for school lunches."

At the high school level, Highlands allows their students to walk off campus for lunch.

President Barack Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 on Dec. 13, 2010. It made stringent requirements on school systems across the country.

Year                Lunches Served by FTIS
2009-2010       256,142
2010-2011       266,482
2011-2012       269,621
2012-2013       259,233   *Federal Mandate of School Lunch starts in August
2013-2014       239,586

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