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Lunch participation down in schools

December 18, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - Jefferson County Schools officials said Tuesday night that a large number of students are not eating lunches provided at their schools.

The trend comes after the Jefferson County Board of Education decided earlier in the year to eliminate the option for students to charge their meals.

Administrators discontinued the option after experiencing a large number of parents not paying their food bills.

Earlier in the year, past-due food bills had reached about $87,000.

Although food services coordinator Carolyn Barnett did not know Tuesday night how many students have stopped eating school lunches, she said the trend is reflected in that the food service program is losing about $10,000 a month.

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To help get the number back up, Barnett suggested that the Board of Education allow students in grades kingergarten through eighth grade to charge their meals.

Barnett said one reason she wants to let younger students charge meals is because they are having trouble keeping track of their money for school lunches.

Barnett said food service officials are considering other methods to increase school lunch participation at the higher grade levels.

At the ninth-grade center, school officials are installing a salad bar for students and at the high school level, food service officials are asking students what they would like to see on the school menu, Barnett said.

Barnett said in many cases, students who are not eating at school are packing their lunches.

The Board of Education, which met Tuesday night at Shepherdstown Elementary School, did not take any action on the proposal to allow charging of meals at the K-8 grade levels.

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