I just learned that late last month, the USDA announced the federal reimbursement rates for the 2010-2011 school lunch program (for background on federal reimbursement and how it works, see my School Lunch FAQs).
According to information I learned from my school district, historically over the last five years the rates have increased annually by 2.5% to 4.1%. In the prior two years the rates have increased by at least 4.0% each year. However, for this coming school year the USDA has approved a 1.3% increase in the reimbursement rate — the lowest increase over the last five years.
I’ve Googled a bit to find out what’s going on here but to no avail. My guess – and hope – is that USDA is holding back pending the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, which should result in an increase in school lunch reimbursements across the board.
If anyone has any light to shed on this issue, feel free to contact me or comment below. In the meantime, time is running out for a Congressional vote on the child nutrition legislation before the August recess. Take a moment to go here or here and send a letter to your own representatives urging them to act now.