There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but Carson City schools would like give one to all students within five years.
The top goal for the nutrition department of the school district is to provide free lunches to all students, regardless of the family financial status, by the year 2005.
"We think the kids would do much better in school if they were all fed a nutritious meal," said Carol Sheeks, director of nutritional services. "I don't think children learn if their tummies are growling."
She said the district is working to pass a bill in the Legislature but is not sure who would pay for the program.
"In the long run, the taxpayers could pay for it or if the government has extra funds, they could pay for it," she said. "That will have to be decided later."
This year about 2,500 students eat school lunch every day. Nearly 35 percent of those pay a reduced fee or eat for free.
"A lot of little kids would not get to eat without a lunch and breakfast program," Sheeks said.
In honor of National School Lunch Week this week, Carson City students were served a special meal Tuesday featuring a pop-up pizza sandwich for the main course.
The sandwhich - made on white bread with pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese, topped with garlic butter - received mixed reviews from fifth-graders at Mark Twain Elementary.
"I didn't even try it, but it just looks nasty," said Adam Wilson, 10. "I know I won't like it."
So his friend, 11-year-old Tyler Lawson, ate it for him.
"The sauce and the cheese are really good," Tyler said. "The bread has seasoning on it."
Sheeks said the lunches are designed to promote healthy eating habits.
"Our children get no more than 30 percent fat and 10 percent saturated fat," she said.
She said the age of the child determines the amount of calories that child receives for lunch. The lunches also provide a daily supply of vitamins A and C.
Victoria Norton, a 6-year-old first-grader at Empire Elementary School, said she generally likes the lunches - but not the pizza.
"The pizza doesn't taste like the ordinary pizzas," she said. "It tastes awful."
Her favorite lunch is the corn dog "because it has hot dogs inside."
Victoria's twin brother, Frankie Norton, likes the corn coating.
"The corn is yummy," he said.