A Green Lake student plucks several strawberries from the cafeteria line at school. A $30,000 deficit in the district’s food service program will force a decision next month on whether to rejoin the federal meal program or find another way to plug the hole in the budget.
A Green Lake student plucks several strawberries from the cafeteria line at school. A $30,000 deficit in the district’s food service program will force a decision next month on whether to rejoin the federal meal program or find another way to plug the hole in the budget.

The Green Lake School Board dumped the federal school lunch program two years ago, but now it may come back for seconds.

A $30,000 deficit in the district’s food service program has forced the board to weigh its options for the 2017-18 school year.

And the choice must be made soon, as district accounts manager Tom Archambo told the board at its meeting last week Wednesday.

Declining paid participation in school meals, along with a rise in students needing district-defrayed breakfasts and lunches, has led to the deficit.

The amount that the district’s in the red almost exactly equals the dollars it had been receiving before 2015 in federal subsidies for the free-and-reduced meals program schools are required to provide.

Archambo noted that the board will have to decide at its Wednesday, April 19 meeting whether the district will rejoin the federal program or keep striking out on its own.

Because applications to join the federal program take a few months, he later explained, “We were advised that we would have to start [the process around] April 15 if we want to get back in for next year.”

Read more about the meeting — including a discussion of staffing tweaks that may be necessary in April — in the March 23, 2017 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.