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Marcellus High School to drop National School Lunch Program

The Marcellus Board of Education voted Jan. 25 to remove the senior high school from the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), beginning in September 2016. The decision was prompted by a steady decline in participation in the federal program among the district’s high school students.

By exiting the program, Marcellus will be able to address student demand for larger portions, higher quality food and more food choices than what’s offered by the NSLP, without compromising the need to provide nourishing meals, Food Services Director Patricia Grogan said.

“By working with the OCM BOCES nutritionist already employed by the district, we will be able to improve the quality and quantity of meal options without diminishing nutritional value,” Ms. Grogan said.

Since the 2011-12 year, Marcellus High School has seen a 12.9 percent drop in NSLP participation. In that same time period, the district’s revenues from the sale of reimbursable meals decreased $42,077 or 17 percent, and money made from the sale of a la carte items dropped nearly 27 percent. Based on the results of a survey conducted by SUNY Oswego students in 2014, students have drifted away from the NSLP because they want larger portions (51 percent), higher quality food (44 percent) and food choices not offered by the program (39 percent).

Marcellus Business Administrator Anthony Sonnacchio said the district expects to offset half of the loss of federal reimbursement for free and reduced-price meals through reliance on other income sources (i.e., increased a la carte sales, increased breakfast sales, increased catering opportunities), and the other half with an estimated 75-cent increase in lunch prices.

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