Illinois schools bow out of 'National School Lunch Program' - FOX 32 News Chicago

Illinois schools bow out of 'National School Lunch Program'

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Some schools in the state have decided to opt-out of the federally mandated healthy school lunch program.

The school board in Township High School District 214 Wednesday night voted unanimously to do so. The vote comes as the government moves to further restrict the types of foods and snacks that schools can offer. The change will impact students in Arlington Heights, Wheeling, Buffalo Grove, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect.

District 214 includes 6 high schools and 12,500 students. Surveys and round table meetings with students made it clear to district officials that the new restrictions on food and snacks, set to go into effect in July, just weren't foods that the students said they would buy.

“Our challenge as a district is that without food that tastes good, our students have the opportunity to leave campus and end up going to convenience stores or fast food restaurants, and the choices they're making there are probably not as nutritious as a school lunch,” said District 214 Superintendent Dr. Dave Schuler.

There are several fast food chains right across the street from the school, including a Jimmy Johns, Dairy Queen and a pizza place.

District officials plan to offer 10 to 12 new nutritious meal options to replace what they consider overly burdensome government requirements.

The district will give up potentially $900,000 in reimbursements from the federal government, but the school board hopes to make up that money by offering food items that students are going to buy more of.

Before school Friday, high school students told FOX 32's Anita Padilla they thought the decision was a good idea. They say they would rather pay for a lunch they are actually going to eat.

FOX 32's Anita Padilla contributed to this story

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