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Price of school lunch to increase in 2010-11
Posted: June 30, 2010
The cost of student lunches will increase by a dollar when school opens next fall, as the district continues to move toward a food services program that is entirely self-sufficient.
The Board of Education enacted the change during its 2010-11 budget development process, which was heavily focused on ensuring efficient and fiscally prudent operations in every area of the district.
The lunch at the elementary level will go from $2 to $3 for 2010-11, and the lunch at the Middle School and High School will increase from $2.25 to $3.25. Adult lunches will go up $1.50 to a total of $4.50.
In addition to helping the school meals program cover its costs, the price increase is also reflective of increased meal quality in recent years and the growing cost of food commodities.
School lunches include an entrée, carbohydrate, vegetable/salad, fruit, and milk, and occasionally a dessert.
The district typically sends information about the school lunch program home as part of back-to-school information, but is publicizing this increase now to give parents ample notice about the change.
In school district accounting, the Food Service Department’s budget is separate from the district’s overall operating budget, known as the general fund.
Often the revenues from the school meal program – which are derived from the sale of meals and snacks – do not cover the costs of the food, equipment and supplies, and staffing. This results in the need to use some of the general fund to help balance the food service program.
This subsidy has been in the neighborhood of $100,000 or more in recent years.
Although such a general fund offset is not uncommon among school districts statewide, in enacting the price increase, the Board and the administration targeted the goal of operating a food service program that is entirely self sufficient.
At this time, the district would also like to encourage families who may be eligible for the federal free and reduced lunch program to consider applying for it for 2010-11. The program is available to all students from households with incomes below certain limits, and ensures students have access to a high-quality school meal regardless of their economic circumstances.
Application to the program and participating in it is strictly confidential.
Complete information about the program, including income limits and an application, will be available during the summer. It will be included in the back-to-school packets that all students receive either in an August mailing or during the first days of school in September.
Applications are accepted throughout the year, as family income situations do change.
Federal reimbursement for the meals also helps the district cover the costs of food services and further limit the need for a general fund subsidy.