MUKWONAGO — Students in Mukwonago are boycotting school lunch, after the school district is required to follow new federal requirements. New USDA requirements forced the school district to limit calories in lunches, and make students pay more for them.
“This year, we were forced to raise our price 10 cents. They’re getting less food and they’re paying more money, and they just decided they needed to make their voices heard,” Food Service Supervisor Pam Harris said.
Under the new USDA guidelines, schools must charge a price that matches what the district receives per tray for free or reduced lunches.
Students are getting less food on their trays due to the 850 calorie requirement. Harris said the students immediately noticed smaller sandwiches at the deli bar, but Harris said it was the garlic bread that cause an uproar.
“The portion of garlic bread was cut in half, or a little less than half, and that’s such a popular item that it was really noticeable. I think it really pushed some of our kids over the edge,” Harris said.
Athletes in the district are particularly annoyed by the new regulations as they’ve grown accustomed to large lunches.
“We’ve always encouraged our athletes that do eat hot lunch to bring extra. I do think hot lunch is geared toward the student who’s not in a very rigorous activity. Limiting the calories of the athlete is not going to make the overweight child lose weight, so I feel it’s a pretty ineffective way to address the problem,” Mukwonago football coach Clay Iverson said.
Harris says the school normally serves about 830 lunches per day. When the school lunch boycott began Monday, September 17th, the lunch ladies served 290 lunches.
Harris said if the boycott continues, it could lead to cuts in cafeteria staff.
CLICK HERE for more on the USDA National School Lunch program.