The financial condition of Florida’s school district food service programs is mixed, says a report compiled by the Florida Legislature Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability (Report No. 09-04). Although most programs have positive fund balances, the report notes, almost one half have experienced significant declines in these reserves in recent years and current levels may not be sufficient to cover unforeseen expenses or revenue shortfalls.
It also notes that fund balances often overstate the financial status of food service programs because most school districts do not charge the programs for all indirect and support costs, and many use general funds to subsidize their food service programs. Other key findings in the report: over the past five-year period, about two-thirds of school districts have raised meal prices to cover rising costs, and the current methodology used to allocate state general revenue funds to support school district food service programs does not provide incentives to promote fiscal efficiency.