New Illinois Bill Proposes That School Lunches Don’t Have To Be As Cheap As Possible
Do you have fond memories of the food served at lunch when you went to high school or was it bordering on inedible?
I have limited memories of school time lunches. I was fortunate to have parents that would send me to elementary school for lunch. Maybe occasionally I would get hot lunch if it was pizza day or something similarly desirable.
Middle and high school is very fuzzy when it comes to lunch time. I remember everyone being excited when they allowed Papa John's to sell pizza at lunch. I also think there was a time when you could get personal pan pizzas from pizza hut. If those options weren't available, the only other thing I remember eating was the long slices of pizza with the cubes of pepperoni.
Or maybe this one, they seemed to be in some sort of rotation.
What I'm saying is that I ate a lot of pizza in school. I think it was a solid 80% of my lunches after grade school.
While I don't think that any of my cafeteria food was going to win Michelin stars, I also don't think it was the cheapest possible food the school could get.
That however is the case now. All because of a law that was passed that makes schools only buy the cheapest available rule.
ABC7 - As state law stands, Illinois school districts participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National School Lunch Program are required to accept the lowest bid for their food contracts. Oftentimes that means districts can't push for better options since vendors know the lowest bid wins.
I'm sure this is one of those well intentioned laws to circumnavigate improper spending, bribes, and making best use of taxpayer dollars. The result however has been food that has been described as inedible in my Illinois high schools.
This is a major problem for the hundreds of thousands of Illinois households that simply don't have the money or the leadership to properly feed them. If the school is the only place some kids can get a healthy meal and it's complete garbage, these kids don't stand a chance.
Proposed bill HB4813 could help change this. It was submitted by a democratic Illinois Representative Jehan Gordon-Booth from Peoria. It would allow schools to negotiate with different vendors and possibly more importantly for downstate schools, allow them to source local foods to feed students. With the strong agriculture in Illinois south of I-88, this could form some strong bonds between schools the the community.
The bill is currently awaiting approval.
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