School lunches are a staple of childhood memories. U-High even sells lunches provided by ISU Dining Services. So why has school lunch become so unpopular amongst U-High Students?
One reason senior Michael Cavanaugh gives is the pricing, which leads him to eat school lunches only two to three times a week.
“In general, it’s all overpriced,” Cavanaugh said.
He added he feels that he would choose to eat school lunches more if there were more options.
“I don’t like the variety of the hot lunches and the lack of variety of specialties,” Cavanaugh said, “but I do like the cold lunch dailies.”
Senior Andrew Munn expressed a similar concern about the high prices on the specialties.
“I don’t want to have to spend more than $5 on school lunch food just to fill me up,” Munn said.
This concern with overpricing extends to the other supplied options around school, including the vending machines.
“The vending machines are far too expensive and not restocked enough,” Munn said.
Cavanaugh adds that Circle K has better options and lower prices.
Principal Andrea Markert said that one advantage of having a school store is that it opens up some options.
“Because the lunches are not government funded, we are able to sell candy and soda,” Markert said.
Students, especially those who can drive seem to favor local restaurants. The alarming prices of school lunches make the convenience of the school store nearly moot.
“I would much rather go to nearby restaurants,” Munn said, “food is better and the price is either lower or pretty close.”
Cavanaugh agreed, saying he “would rather go somewhere like McDonald’s or Chipotle.”
Munn added that the school pizza, a staple of the cafeteria, has really decreased in quality.
“It was good freshman year but the quality has really dropped and the price has gone up,” Munn said.
A solution to the high prices is not readily apparent, and some of the funds from the school store go to the school.
Markert stated that U-High makes a small percentage of lunch sales (20-25% according to Budget Manager, Stacey Welters), and that ISU, who provides the lunches every day, earns the remainder.
When asked if they thought this was fair, Cavanaugh and Munn had differing opinions.
“Yes, because if (ISU) didn’t (provide lunch services), nobody would have lunch at all,” Cavanaugh said.
“It’s still a business, so it’s fair, but the cost to produce doesn’t seem very high, so they should be able to cut prices,” Munn said.