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Don't forget your school lunch ticket


If your house is like mine, it's time for forgetting. Now that kids are settled into a school routine, we start to take things for granted -- and that means forgotten gym shorts or permission slips or lunches.

If a student who pays full price for lunch in L.A. Unified schools forgets money or a lunch ticket, the cafeteria will provide half of a cheese sandwich and a four-ounce container of milk for free. That might be an incentive to remember lunch money.

The point of the policy is to make sure kids don't go without any food at all. The difficulty of tracking lost or forgotten lunch tickets is one of the reasons the district plans to change to an automated system within the next 18 months, officials say.

In past years, the district provided fruit and milk; the sandwich and juice are cheaper but provide the same nutrients, says spokeswoman Lourdes Vitor. The expected savings is $500,000, she says.

About three-quarters of LAUSD students get free or reduced-price lunches. If those students forget or lose their tickets, they can still get regular lunches, Vitor says. Depending on the school, they might have to get replacement tickets first.

Students can also buy lunch with cash.

Lunch prices didn't go up this year. It's $1 in elementary schools and $1.50 in secondary schools.

-- Mary MacVean

Photo credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

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