Chocolate milk
January 6, 2017

Chocolate Milk Solving LA School Budget Crisis

 |  By: Mike Opperman

It looks like bringing flavored milk back to schools in Los Angeles is offsetting some of the school district’s budget deficits.

In the first month of a pilot program to reintroduce flavored milk at 27 school sites throughout the LA Unified school district, the average waste of milk per student decreased while the number of school lunches being served increased by 1,005. If the totals were to be extrapolated across the district the annual food services deficit could be reduced from $50 million annualyl to $20 million, says Megan Reilly, district chief financial officer.

Money is saved not only by decreasing the cost of waste disposal but also by increasing the number of lunches served, which brings in more Federal dollars.

In October the school board voted to launch a pilot program to look at bringing back strawberry and chocolate flavored milk, which were banned six years ago. This program was spurred by a report in September which showed that 600 tons of organic waste was thrown out every week, and much of that was milk.

In the pilot program, schools with low lunch attendance were identified and asked to participate. The study has discovered so far that for an average student picking up an 8-ounce carton of milk, 3.48 ounces are consumed with 4.52 ounces thrown out. That’s about 236 gallons each day. The schools offering flavored milk showed less than an ounce of waste on all milk consumed. Sites offering flavored milk saw more milk distributed and less waste, while schools offering only non-flavored milk saw waste increase.

The pilot program lasts through the end of February.

Watch this video from AgDay TV:

What do you think? Should flavored milk be offered in schools? Send your feedback to Mike Opperman, MILK editor, at mopperman@farmjournal.com

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