The National School Lunch Program provides $10.8 billion to serve about 32 million lunches a year, nearly two-thirds of which are provided free or at a reduced price to low-income students.
To receive funding, schools are required to meet nutritional standards, including limiting fats and serving enough calories. In California, 60 percent of the school lunches reviewed by the state in the past five years failed to meet at least one federal nutritional requirement, according to an analysis by California Watch. More than 200 of about 860 districts and charter schools reviewed failed to meet three or more nutritional standards, the data shows.
California Watch obtained state Department of Education records showing the nutritional analysis for school lunches reviewed in the past five years. Although the data wasn’t comprehensive, it provides a window into the system.