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Wentzville School District drops out of lunch program

"With everything being whole grain and low sodium, the students just aren't interested."

WENTZVILLE, Mo. – The Wentzville School District will drop the National School Lunch Program next fall.

School leaders said the district is on course to lose nearly $100,000 this year because of the program's mandates.

"Better food, tastier food," said Susan Raster, the head of school nutrition for the Wentzville School District.

She knows students, and what they'll eat, and it's not what they're serving right now.

She said they are looking for one simple change.

"Foods we know the students will like and will eat,” she said.

Over the years she's seen a decline in students who buy lunches, and that's put a pinch on the district's bottom line.

If students are walking away from lunches, that means there's a lot going to waste.

"We lost $83,000 this last year, and right now we are on target to lose about $100,000,” she said.

She said times are changing, and the district needs to change too.

"It's pretty bad when your free and reduced students don't even want to eat,” she said.

So, the district plans to run its own program and forfeit federal money and USDA food. Raster said they just have to do something different.

“With everything being whole grain and low sodium, the students just aren't interested,” she said.

So, between saving the district money, and serving better food hopes it serves everyone better.

Free and reduced lunches will still use federal guidelines to qualify, however they'll pay for the lunches out of the district's budget.