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Privatized School Food Service and Student Performance in Michigan: A Preliminary Report

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 This report analyzes Michigan school district data for the 2005-2006 school year to assess the association between private school food service management and the cost of meals, the level of classroom resources, and student performance on standardized tests. Results indicate no substantive decrease in the cost of student lunches and a modest increase in the cost of breakfasts with private food management. Private food service management is associated with higher student-to-teacher and student-to-instructor ratios. Finally, private food service management is associated with an estimated 1 to 3 percent reduction in MEAP scores. This effect appears to be strongest in grades 3 to 5 and with the English, reading and writing tests. Exploration of Centers for Disease Control data suggests that the cause for the lower test scores is greater availability of high fat and high sugar foods under private food service management.