School Lunch Prices Increase Nationwide

By: McKinsey Harris Email
By: McKinsey Harris Email

Your kids' school lunches might soon cost a little more to comply with new federal requirements, but some parents may not even notice the increase.

Bradley Walton's daughter goes to Spotswood Elementary and he says an extra five cents for her lunches is no problem.

"That's 25 cents a week, that's well within my budget to handle. I think it's within the capabilities of most families to absorb that, even families with multiple children in the schools," says Walton.

Andrea Early is the schools nutrition program director.

She says the extra five cents will only be for kids who pay for lunch, not free or reduced lunches, and adult lunches will be an extra 25 cents.

Still, that'll bring in about $15,000 next year, so it's a big help.

"With the increased fuel prices, we don't know what our food prices are going to look like yet. We're still going up out on bid for next year, but we do anticipate that food prices could go up," says Early.

With a push for healthier options, she says she hopes they can increase their farm to school program.

"You know there's a huge cost difference between fresh fruits and vegetables and say canned fruit or canned vegetables. So the more we offer the fresh stuff, the more our food costs go up but we know we want kids to eat more of those, so we're going to offer more," says Early.

Walton says he's happy to pay up because he's seeing a difference.

"And so, when she started buying lunch at school, she started eating different things that she hadn't been eating before, and I think that's wonderful and so I'm more than happy to support that with a five cents per meal increase," says Walton.

Currently, 65 percent of Harrisonburg students qualify for free or reduced lunches.

Those prices will not be affected and still reimbursed the same by the federal government.


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