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Lunch prices to remain the same in Jefferson County

August 15, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Although a backlog of unpaid school lunch meals in Jefferson County Schools is "atrocious," school officials have decided to hold off on any lunch price increases.

Jefferson County Schools officials have been facing several problems with meal programs over the last year.

Last year, the Jefferson County Board of Education increased school lunch and breakfast prices after it was determined the school system's food service program faced a $600,000 shortfall.

The shortfall was attributed to higher labor and food costs and a large number of parents not paying their children's food bills.

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Currently, past due food bills are running at about $87,000, which Jefferson County Board of Education member Cheryl Huff called "atrocious."

"I don't see how we could get that far behind," Huff said Wednesday.

Huff said both students and staff have unpaid food bills.

Rather than increase food prices for a second year in a row, school board members decided Tuesday night to hold off on increasing meal prices again.

Board members instead decided to try controlling food costs by eliminating the ability to charge meals and using a food service consultant to determine other ways to cut costs, said Huff.

Last year, the school board increased the breakfast price from 80 cents to $1, the secondary school lunch price from $1.25 to $1.50 and the elementary lunch price from $1.10 to $1.25.

At the time, school officials said the new prices probably represented some of the highest in the state.

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