School board approves increase in lunch prices
The Guilford County Board of Education approved an increase in lunch prices for the 2013-2014 school year.
The board approved a five-cent increase, five cents less than what staff recommended.
Citing concerns about the economy and unemployment rates, board member Darlene Garrett moved to approve the increase. The motion passed with a 5-4 vote.
Last summer, the board approved increases for elementary and middle school students because of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Elementary lunch prices were increased from $2.30 to $2.50 and middle school lunch prices were increased from $2.40 to $2.50. The Act includes 73 new rules and regulations for Child Nutrition Programs that went into effect for lunch during the 2012-2013 school year and will go into effect for breakfast in 2013-2014. Some of these rules include ensuring that students are offered fruits and vegetable every day of the week, requiring all grain products to be whole-grain rich, allowing only fat-free or low-fat milk, limiting calories based on the student’s grade and increasing efforts to reduce sodium, saturated fat and trans fat.
Each year, to comply with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, all districts must annually increase the price of lunches served to paying students until the cost of the paid lunch is, on average, equal to the difference between the free meal reimbursement and the paid meal reimbursement. In Guilford County, that equation would be $2.94 — $0.35 = $2.59.
Districts may choose to cover the difference in revenue with local dollars instead of raising meal prices, but GCS staff recommended the board raise the lunch prices by 10 cents for the 2013-2014 school year, which would’ve alleviated increases that will have to be done in following years. The maximum annual increase required by the Act is 10 cents, but districts may establish a higher increase at their discretion.
GCS has raised lunch prices four times since 1993, including last year’s increase; by five cents at elementary and 10 cents in 2004-2005; by 20 cents in 2007-2008; and by 50 cents at elementary and 30 cents at middle and high school in 2009-2010.
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