Janesville28.2°

School lunch price could rise

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
June 20, 2012
— School lunch would cost 10 cents more next fall than it did in the past school year under a proposal being recommended by a Janesville School Board committee.

The finance/buildings and grounds committee voted 4-0 Tuesday to recommend the proposal to the full board.


Elementary school lunches would rise to $2.10, middle school to $2.35 and high school to $2.45. Adults would pay $3.


The change would yield an estimated increase in revenue of $38,122 for the proposed food services budget of $4.5 million.


The budget's biggest costs are labor, projected to increase by 1.6 percent next year, and food, projected to increase by 11.3 percent.


The increase in lunch prices, however, is driven by federal law. The federal government doesn't want schools to subsidize full-price lunches with the money the government gives to pay for free lunches.


The government pays $2.77 a meal for free lunches. The average district price per meal this year was $2.20, so the free-lunch subsidy is paying for part of the full-priced meal.


The government requires districts to increase the prices of their lunches until they reach equity, but they may not increase the prices by more than 10 cents a year, said Jim Degan, food services manager.


The federal government also pays 26 cents for each full-priced meal.


More than 48 percent of district students received free or reduced-price meals this past year because their family incomes were low enough to qualify for the benefit. That percentage has risen steadily over the years. It was at 38 percent in 2008-09.


The district's food services budget is separate from the main operations budget. By law, food-services-cost savings cannot be transferred to other district funds.



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