Archived Story

Schools served 37K lunches of the summer

Published 6:50pm Saturday, September 15, 2012

Austin Public Schools served thousands of lunches once again over the summer.

Austin schools served 31,000 lunches as part of the district’s Summer Lunch Program, according to Mary Weikum, food and nutrition expert. That’s a bit lower than the 35,000 lunches the district served last year, but district officials are considering this year’s numbers the new standard for summer lunch.

“It’s kind of to be expected because Sumner started school in August,” Weikum said.

Austin High School, Ellis Middle School and Neveln Elementary School all served lunch from the beginning of June to the end of July, with Ellis serving lunches until Aug. 27. Since Sumner students came back to school on Aug. 1 — and about 90 percent of Sumner students are on free- and reduced-lunches, according to district officials — Weikum said the decrease in lunches makes sense.

“During the month of August, we also served more than 4,500 school lunches too,” she said. “If you add that in, we served close to the same number of summer lunches as last year.”

Weikum said the program, which offers free lunches to students in summer, is expected to continue for years, and the district will identify next year’s lunch program sites this spring. About 53 percent of Austin’s students were on free and reduced lunches last year, according to reports submitted by the district to the Minnesota Department of Education. This year’s free and reduced lunch numbers will come out next month.

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