05/06/12 — Students might pay more for their lunch

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Students might pay more for their lunch

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on May 6, 2012 1:50 AM

The Wayne County Board of Education is expected to approve a 25-cent increase to school lunch prices at its Monday night meeting, officials said last week.

The move would mean charging $2.25 for K-12 student lunches starting in the fall.

Barbara Ward, director of child nutrition for the district, met with the finance committee earlier this past week in anticipation of the full board session.

"We haven't had an increase since 2008-09, I believe," she told them.

In May 2008, the board approved a raise for K-12 lunches to $2. Previously $1.25 for K-5 and $1.50 for grades 6-12, it was the first major increase since 2005, Ms. Ward said.

At the time, the hike was attributed to rising fuel, labor and food costs.

This go-round, while those reasons are still applicable, the move is primarily prompted by the state. The Department of Public Instruction, Ms. Ward said, is requiring school districts to raise prices by at least 10 cents.

The hike does not come without costs to the district, she added.

"We're going to have to have more food because right now we're already low on calories," she said. "The biggest change in the standard, if a child is taking in a reimbursement meal, they're going to have to take a half-cup serving of fruit or vegetable, which is a great thing, but it's going to be more costly."

"They're already telling us to be expecting a lot of waste," said Nan Barwick, assistant superintendent for finance.

At this point, lunch prices are the only ones expected to go up.

"Breakfast for this coming year, we're not required to make any changes, but it's coming," Ms. Ward said. "Next year, we will have to offer more whole grain foods.

"We're trying to be proactive, make the changes before they require us to make the changes."

Ms. Barwick also announced the district's annual surplus sale, at which equipment and other items are put up for public auction. That will take place May 19 at the school system's maintenance shop on Salem Church Road.

Monday evening's session is called to order at 4 p.m. before going into closed session. The public meeting will resume about 5 p.m.