School lunch prices to increase 10 cents
By: GEOFFREY STOUTE
CENTERVILLE — Prices for student lunches in St. Mary Parish schools will increase by 10 cents during the upcoming school year and could continue climbing at that rate for possibly 10 years because of what school officials described as a rate increase put on the board by the federal government.
Schools Chief Financial Officer Alton Perry told the board that, as of July 1, the Healthy, Hunger-Free-Kids Act of 2010 requires school food authorities participating in the National School Lunch Program to provide the same level of support for lunches served to students not eligible for free or reduced price lunches as they do for those who are eligible for free lunches.
The increase is necessary because in some school food authorities, like St. Mary Parish, the average price charged for paid lunches is less than the cost of producing them.
Therefore, that means federal subsides for higher income children were in-creased because federal funds meant for free and reduced price lunches were being used to help fill the void between what a paid lunch costs and what the school receives for it.
“They want us to close that gap,” Perry said. “It’s not an option.”
The 10 cent increase now will mean pre-kindergarten through fifth graders charged the regular price for lunches now will pay $1.35 for lunch, while those in sixth through 12th grades will pay $1.60.
This increase, capped at 10 cents per year, is expected to continue for up to 10 years, Perry said, until the average price charged for paid lunches ($1.38 at this time) reaches $2.18, the difference between the federal reimbursement price for free lunch and the federal reimbursement price for paid lunches.
This year’s increase is expected to generate about $30,000.
Reduced lunch will remain at 40 cents, while breakfast prices will remain at 30 cents for reduced paying students in all grades, and 75 cents for fully paying students in all grades.
School board employees prices will increase to $2.75, which is not related to the same guidelines as the required student increase.
In other news, during Tuesday’s meeting, the board:
—Agreed to loan $10,000 from the District 1 capital projects account to Centerville School, which is starting a junior high football team.
—Granted permission to advertise for a curriculum facilitator and school secretary, both at M.D. Shannon Elementary School in Morgan City, and a custodian at LaGrange Elementary in Franklin.
—Approved resolutions authorizing signatories for Berwick Junior High School, B.E. Boudreaux Middle School, Franklin Junior High School and Patterson Junior High School, all as a result of recent appointments.
—Awarded a contract for replacement of a kitchen hood at J.S. Aucoin Elementary School in Amelia to Volute Inc. for $56,700.
—Awarded a contract of $22,077 at M.E. Norman Elementary School in Morgan City to remove an existing 4-foot chain-link fence and replace it with approximately 1,000 foot of 6-feet chain link fencing and gates to Bayou Fencing and Supply.
Absent from Wednesday’s meeting were board members Ginger Griffin and Marilyn LaSalle, both of Patterson.