BRUNSWICK COUNTY -- With food costs up and fewer students buying lunches than in years past Brunswick County schools are feeling the affects. The county's school nutrition program is facing a deficit. Director Tina Ward says now the program's goal is to just break even. State-mandated nutrition standards have forced schools to buy healthier food, which costs more. And prices of groceries in general have shot up. A half-pint carton of milk costs almost ten cents more than last year -- and with Brunswick County schools going through one million cartons a year, that adds up. Ward said, \child nutrition director, "We have to do what's right for the children and that is to offer the healthiest food that we can to them at a reasonable price. And that's exactly what we try to do, and we also have to keep in mind that we do have to remain self-supporting." Ward says the county schools don't receive state or local funding to make up the difference of paying for more expensive food required by state standards. The federal help they do receive only covers 57 percent of the program's budget.
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