Prior Lake High School opts out of national school lunch program

by Sarah Thamer

The Star Tribune reports that Prior Lake High School has decided to opt out of the National School Meals Program.

Losing $170k in funds, the school made the choice to opt out in order to better serve students’ needs, wrote the Star Tribune.

According to the Star Tribune, “The move will let the cafeteria serve higher-calorie meals and a wider variety of foods than controversial federal nutrition rules allow.

Many students expressed the program does not meet their needs in terms of portion sizes and food options, food services director Janeen Peterson said to Star Tribune.

Not many districts can afford to opt out of nutrition requirements due to the loss of funds, wrote the Star Tribune.

“Another part of opting out is increasing vigilance. Prior Lake High School's current free and reduced lunch rate is 10.5 percent. If that goes up, opting out may not be a realistic option anymore,” reported the Prior Lake American.

“The rules restrict the amount of fat, sodium and total calories that schools can serve. They also require all grains served to be whole-grain, and stipulate that students must take a fruit or vegetable whether they want it or not,” reported the Star Tribune.

So far, only three schools in Minnesota have withdrawn from the federally funded meal program, according to the Star Tribune.