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Lisbon BOE losing free and reduced lunch participation

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LISBON – The federally mandated Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 that came into effect this year requiring schools to make healthier meals has been described as more expensive, more labor intensive and less popular than previous programs by David J. Gravlin, Food Service director at the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services, at Thursday’s Lisbon Board of Education meeting.

The program, said Mr. Gravlin, is aimed at reducing child obesity, but has resulted in portions that are too small, especially for high school athletes, and has significantly reduced the amount of children participating in the free and reduced lunch program.

Cafeteria Manager Rick J. Anderson said Lisbon has lost 30-40 children using free or reduced lunches because of new regulations that stipulate children must take portions of fruits and vegetables.

“The decrease [of children on the program] is there and we’re seeing the cost [of lunches] go up [for the school],” said Mr. Anderson.

Vice President of the board Larry Doyle said he has noticed “a lot more little lunch bags going by then there were last year.”

Mr. Gravlin said, through discussions he has had with the state Education Department, he “got the sense that they are not for this.” He believes a political pushback is imminent.

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