School Lunches

Andrew Reed / Idaho Education News

Even in a state with high poverty rates, Nampa is a high-poverty district.

In 2014-15, 64 percent of Nampa’s 14,892 students qualified for free or reduced-price school lunch. In five Nampa elementary schools, this percentage topped 80 percent — well above the statewide average of 49 percent.

Brittany Randolph / Flickr Creative Commons

Wednesday is the first day of summer vacation for students in the Boise School District. Other districts have already ended the year, others will very soon. That means free summer nutrition programs for low-income kids are about to start up.

Nationally, nearly 4 million kids participate in USDA-sponsored summer meal programs. Preliminary numbers show nearly 27,000 of those kids were in Idaho last summer.

school lunch, cafeteria, students
Lance Cheung / USDA | Flickr Creative Commons

Most Idaho kids went back to school this week, meaning for many, a return to school lunches. Food in public schools has changed significantly since new federal nutrition guidelines were passed in 2010.

Ground Beef, Food Recall
I Believe I Can Fry / Flickr Creative Commons

Update 11:00 a.m: Idaho’s Department of Education has issued a correction saying the removal of the ground beef from schools is technically not a “recall” but a “product retrieval.” According to a USDA spokesman the difference is who bought it. Legally speaking, a recall is issued by a company on retail products. Because the beef was not sold to the public it can’t be recalled. 

Chobani, Greek Yogurt
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

New York based Greek yogurt maker Chobani has been chosen to lead a new pilot program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That program will feature the high protein yogurt in school lunches starting this school year.

Idaho, along with Arizona, New York and Tennessee will participate to see how cost effective it will be to offer this yogurt as a meat substitute for school meals.  If the test is successful, Greek yogurt could become a permanent fixture of the school lunch program across the U.S.  

Students in Boise schools will pay more for lunch this fall. And lunch prices in other districts are likely to go up as well.

Peggy Bodnar says the Boise School District has tried hard to keep from raising the lunch price. But the district’s Food Service Supervisor says now they have to. She explains, “there were numerous changes that came about with that Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.”