Increases in 2012-2013 school year lunch prices for Douglas County School System students have been approved by the Board of Education as follows: an increase of 15 cents per meal for elementary students, 25 cents for middle school students and 20 cents for high school students. The increases are necessary due to federal regulations and higher health insurance costs for food service employees.
Increased lunch prices will be as follows: elementary students $1.80 instead of $1.65, middle school $2.00 instead of $1.75, and high school $2.00 instead of $1.80. The price of breakfast, $1.00 for all K-12 grade students, will be unchanged.
“We understand that these are difficult times for parents as well as school districts,” said Douglas County School Superintendent Dr. Gordon Pritz. “Unfortunately, we must look at meal price increases due to federal law and economic challenges.”
Section 205 of the United States Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 states that school nutrition programs may not use monies from free/reduced meal reimbursement to offset the amount charged for full pay student meals. All school districts are required to go up at least five cents per year to get to the minimum to charge for full pay lunch, $2.51. Food costs are expected to increase by 5%. There are new requirements for more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and reduced sodium that will increase costs. Student lunch prices have not increased since the 2009 school year.
“Lunches served in our school cafeterias are still a great deal and a huge convenience for busy parents,” said local School Nutrition Program Director Peggy Reich. “Registered dietitians plan child friendly menus in age appropriate portions that meet or exceed science based nutrition standards. Locally grown produce is featured each month, and we have two fresh fruit and vegetable snack grants to introduce healthy foods to students.
“We are constantly looking for ways to enhance our program, while controlling costs,” Mrs. Reich continued. “At student forums held each year, student representatives from each school taste test and rate items we are considering adding to the menus. ”
Personnel costs, especially for benefits, continue to rise. “The health insurance employer contribution for Douglas County School System cafeteria employees will increase from $644,000 to $1,000,000 in Fiscal Year 2013,” said Mrs. Reich. “It will increase by another $340,000 in FY 2014, then another $340,000 in FY 2015. The Food Service budget pays for over 10% of the School System’s utilities.”