However, according to Spotlightnews.com, participation in the federal program has pinched the school district’s bottom line. Since the start of this school year (through December), the lunch program has operated at a net loss of over $70,000.
School officials say they hope to make up for the loss in federal lucre by offering more appetizing — but still nutritious — lunches.
“We hope to see increased participation in the school lunch program,” Superintendent kay Salvaggio wrote in a letter to parents, according to the Albany Times Union. “Despite the loss of federal meal reimbursements, we have calculated that the surest way to ensure a cost-effective program is to have sufficient numbers of students buying lunch.”
As the Times Union notes, only about eight percent of the students in Niskayuna qualify for free or reduced lunch, which suggests that the school district will be able to absorb the loss of federal reimbursement better than a school district such as the nearby Schenectady City School District. In Schenectady, where almost two thirds of all students qualify for free and reduced lunches, the school district is more likely to take the federal aid and the strings that come with it.