Food Assistance:

Schools That Left the National School Lunch Program

RCED-94-36BR: Published: Dec 3, 1993. Publicly Released: Dec 3, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), focusing on the: (1) number of schools that withdrew from the program; (2) characteristics of the schools that withdrew from NSLP; (3) reasons why schools withdrew from NSLP; and (4) lunch services offered at the schools after they withdrew from NSLP.

GAO found that: (1) only a few schools withdrew from NSLP between July 1989 and February 1993; (2) approximately 60 percent of the schools that withdrew from NSLP were public elementary schools with less than 600 students; (3) schools that left the program served fewer NSLP meals and fewer free and reduced-priced meals than other schools participating in NSLP; (4) 42 percent of the schools that withdrew from NSLP were from the Northeast; (5) the most frequent reason cited for school withdrawal from NSLP was that lunch programs were losing money; (6) high labor costs and other administrative factors were major influences on schools withdrawing from NSLP; and (7) more than 70 percent of the schools that withdrew from the program continued to provide daily lunch service with benefits comparable to those under NSLP.

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