Local school districts in Wisconsin are opting out of the onerous school lunch guidelines that have been pushed largely by First Lady Michelle Obama as part of her campaign to fight obesity, choosing instead to make their own guidelines about proper food nutrition at the local level.
As the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reports, Rick Petfalski, school board president of the Muskego-Norway School District, said, “We believe that proper food nutrition and meal portion guidelines are best decided at a local level.”
Petfalski’s school district’s decision to opt out of the National School Lunch Program means it will no longer receive federal money for its meals, but also that the district is free to serve whatever it wants.
“By leaving the program we will not be required to follow these onerous guidelines, pushed by and large by Michelle Obama, who last I checked has been elected by no one,” Petfalski said.
The school district will now cover the cost of free and reduced lunches on its own, though it was already losing money when it was part of Obama’s program because fewer kids were purchasing the meals. According to the Journal-Sentinel report, the school district will spend less on foods that students do not eat and, consequently, increase the number of children who purchase lunches by providing more satisfying meals.
Petfalski said his school district’s food service was projected to have nearly a $54,000 deficit. By opting out of the national program, he expects about a $7,100 surplus due to increased sales of food.
In addition to Muskego-Norway, the Waterford Graded School District, Waterford Union High School, which operates as a separate school district, and the Central High School District of Westosha, have opted out of Michelle Obama’s school lunch program.
“There was a lot of waste,” said Christopher Joch, Waterford Graded’s superintendent. “The food ended up in the garbage instead of the kids’ mouths.”
Joch said the decision to leave the national school lunch program was strongly supported by parents.