School meal prices increased

Published 9:18 pm Friday, June 15, 2012

Suffolk School Board members unanimously approved price increases for breakfasts and lunches served at schools during their monthly meeting Thursday.

Prices were increased 15 and 75 cents, respectively, for paid lunches and breakfasts.

The average paid lunch price in Suffolk Public Schools will increase from $1.35 to $1.50, and breakfasts at all levels from 75 to 85 cents.

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The U. S. Department of Agriculture’s National School Lunch Program requires participating districts to provide sufficient funds to the nonprofit school food service account for lunches served to students not eligible for free or reduced-price meals, Assistant Superintendent Kevin Alston told the meeting.

Districts charging less than $2.51 for paid lunches are required to adjust their average lunch price for the 2012-2013 school year, or cover the difference in the nonprofit school food service account with nonfederal funds, he said.

Suffolk schools have the second-cheapest lunch prices among seven districts in Hampton Roads, including Franklin and Isle of Wight County, with Portsmouth the least expensive.

This remains the case even after Suffolk’s increase, provided the other districts don’t instigate their own changes.

“If others don’t increase (prices), Suffolk remains the second-lowest,” Alston said. “The last increase was 2007, so I would have to say they are due for an increase.”

The proposal was supported with minimal interrogation from board members. Linda Bouchard asked if the quantity of food accounts for the different prices of primary and secondary lunches.

“Yes ma’am, it’s the quantity and there’s more offerings (in secondary lunches),” district Superintendent Deran Whitney said.

After the increase, the district will not have to increase prices again in the 2013-2014 school year, Alston said.