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Education Secretary Talks School Lunches

October 10, 2012, 6:12 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Education Secretary Talks School Lunches

From not getting enough to eat to more school food waste, the South Dakota Secretary of Education says she's heard a lot of concerns about the new federal school lunch guidelines.

Tyler Anderson keeps an extra stash of healthy snacks with him at school because he says the new school lunches don't fill him up, especially when he's involved in sports.

"You need more food if you want to have the energy to be able to run," Anderson said.

The Brandon Valley Senior says many students don't like some of the healthier foods, but are still forced to take them.

"Kids just don't want it. They say, 'I'm a drone. I'll take it.' It goes right there," Anderson said.

With kids throwing more food in the trash and some kids saying they're simply not getting enough to eat, the South Dakota Secretary of Education says for the first time she's getting calls and emails about school lunches.

Now, some of the entrepreneurial things that are happening in school districts are kids are now selling food and making money and doing things on the side.

Schopp sat down with food service administrators and superintendents from several area school districts on Wednesday.

"The calorie count is not enough. It's not a one-size-fits-all. You have a 200 pound football player and a student who weighs 110. There's definitely a different need in the calorie count," Schopp said.

Schopp says she has heard positive feedback from some school districts though and she's still digging into the issue, but she wishes everyone would have had more time to prepare.

"The regulations came out very quickly over the summer, so they had already made some purchases and been working with vendors prior to when the final regulations came out," Schopp said.

"I think it's positive for us to be in the mindset of healthy eating, but as far as the implementation of the program, I don't think it's working as well as it could," Anderson said.

Schopp and school staff and administrators at Wednesday’s meeting also got the chance to talk with USDA officials on the phone.

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