Schools to raise the price of lunches

May 28, 1997


Staff Writer

A full school lunch will cost a nickel more and the price of some single items will go up next year to offset higher food and labor costs, the Washington County Board of Education voted Tuesday night.

The price hike - up 5 cents to $1.30 for elementary students and $1.55 for middle and high school students - is the first raise in the lunch price in five years, said Donald Trumble, director of food and nutrition services.

Breakfast will stay $1 for both elementary and secondary students, Trumble said.

While it will probably hurt participation to some degree, the price increase was unavoidable to keep the Office of Food and Nutrition Services self-supporting, he said.


"Everything is going up ... labor ... the cost of food. You just cannot continue to have no increase," Trumble said.

Government subsidies aren't rising to cover the gap, he said.

There was a slight cut in federal reimbursements for paying students last year, Trumble said.

And static state food service funding hasn't kept up with the increase in the number of lunches and inflation, he said.

Since federal law prohibits raising the cost of free and reduced-price lunches, the school system has no choice but to up its full-price meals, Trumble said.

Single or "a la carte" items - offered in secondary schools only - aren't eligible for any government reimbursement and have to be priced to cover the cost of both ingredients and labor, he said.

Several a la carte items will go up 5, 10 or 15 cents to meet higher costs, Trumble said.

Items include: 5-inch round pizza with topping, French bread pizza, chef salad with meat, tossed salad, super bun sandwich, croissant sandwich, other sandwiches, homemade cake square and canned fruit drink.

Trumble said he's hoping that having all students on the Nutrition Express Meal Card system - which allows parents to deposit money into a food service account - will help make the adjustment easier for parents.

The price of breakfast has stayed the same for six years, Trumble said.

Trumble said he wishes that the U. S. would take a cue from other countries like Japan and feed all of its students for free.

Studies have proven a clear relationship between nutritious school meals and improved grades, attendance and behavior, he said.

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