Price of School Lunches in Modesto Increases
This California School District is taking its first school lunch program price increase in seven years. How is your district handling increased costs? Are lunches affordable to students who don’t meet the free lunch requirements?
Parents of Modesto city school kids will be paying more for school lunches after the school board was forced to increase the price of a school meal.
The Modesto City School District serves 23,000 school lunches everyday. Most are free to low income students, but nearly 7,000 lunches are paid by families who don’t qualify.
Lunches for earlier grades will go from $2 to $2.30. Upper grade students will also pay 30 cents more to $2.80 a lunch.
Willie Mae Dill has a 6-year-old son who qualifies for a free lunch. But she and some other parents are in for some belt tightening.
“They’ll be forced to try to maintain what they can afford and what they can’t afford,” said Dill.
If you do the math, the increase means the district will collect an extra $2,000 a day, minuscule amount when you’re talking about 23,000 lunches. But the school district says it didn’t have a choice.
“This isn’t something we decided to do on our own. It was a requirement by the USDA,” district spokesperson Becky Fortuna said.
Federal law requires that school districts at least break even on the cost of lunches because it doesn’t want money designated for the classroom to be diverted for meals. Until now, the district used its own formula to calculate the cost of lunches. But the USDA says that in many districts, the price paid by students who can afford it doesn’t make up for the cost of the lunch.
“We’re always sensitive to the needs of our families and we know that any increase in cost at any time is always difficult,” Fortuna said.
Fortuna said even though they were forced to increase the cost of lunch for 7,000 students, 18,000 kids will still qualify for a free lunch or reduced cost lunch based on income.
“Many of our school sites where 100 percent of our students qualify for free or reduced lunches, this is something we’re able to provide for many of our families,” Fortuna said.
The increase is softened by the realization that this is the first increase in lunch cost in seven years.
“It’s still going to be a hardship, but it’s fair,” Dill said.
Source: Fox News: http://fox40.com/2014/04/28/price-school-lunches-in-modesto-increases/#eHW6hQaUtWPC1DgP.99
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