Student lunch prices will increase by a dime in both the St. Clair R-XIII and Lonedell R-XIV school districts when regular classes resume in August after Superintendents Mike Murphy and Fred VanBibber recommended the price hikes.
The decisions were made during May meetings of the boards of education in each district.
Starting in the fall, lunch prices at St. Clair Elementary and Edgar Murray schools will be $2.25. At the junior and senior high schools, lunch will cost $2.35.
Breakfast will remain $1.30 at all St. Clair schools. Adult prices will stay at $2.75 for lunch and $1.75 for breakfast.
As far as reduced prices, breakfast will be 30 cents and lunch 40 cents across the board. An extra milk again will cost 40 cents.
Murphy said because of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, all public schools participating in the National School Lunch Program are required to provide the same level of support for paid lunches as they are for lunches served to students eligible for free or reduced meals.
“A comparison of our average paid lunch to the federal reimbursement rate provided for free lunches is conducted annually,” Murphy said in a summary of the program. “Basically, we must gradually increase our lunch prices until we are charging at least what the federal reimbursement rate is.”
He said that amount currently is $2.86.
“Per this provision, for the 2013-14 school year, our district is required to raise lunch prices 10 cents across the board,” Murphy said.
In 2011-12, lunch prices were $2.05 for the younger pupils and $2.15 for the older students. Breakfast and adult prices have remained the same.
In R-XIV, student lunch prices will go up to $1.85 from $1.75 this fall. Staff lunch prices also will jump a dime from $2.60 to $2.70.
The district also is increasing its breakfast prices 5 cents from $1.20 to $1.25.
The lunch price increase is mandatory through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“This is really one of those nonnegotiable items,” Murphy told the St. Clair Board of Education.
The act directs the participants to compare the average price charged for lunches served to students not eligible for free or reduced-price lunches to the difference between the higher federal reimbursement provided for free lunches and the lower federal reimbursement provided for paid lunches.
If the average paid lunch price is less than the difference, the district must either gradually adjust average prices or provide non-federal funding to cover the difference.
Currently, school districts receive $2.59 per student per day in reimbursement costs from the United States Department of Agriculture through the lunch program.