The broken business of feeding America’s schoolchildren

Cafeteria costs are devouring K-12 budgets as more food providers leave districts in the lurch, forcing administrators to take drastic measures to keep students properly fed.

School cafeterias are in crisis.

Some school districts are serving more finger foods because they can’t always buy plastic utensils. One is using a federal voucher to subsidize the cheese on its pizzas. Another is agonizing over whether to cut staff to offset its grocery bills.

The reason: Feeding U.S. schoolchildren doesn’t pay in this economy.

Food providers that many of the nation’s public school students rely on for meals are increasingly charging more than administrators can afford, representatives for hundreds of districts and their food-buying groups across the country told NBC News.

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