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Wed, Sept. 18

Price of school lunches on the rise
Cost increases $27 per year for students who eat every meal

First grade students at Coyote Springs Elementary School get their hot lunch in the school’s cafeteria Tuesday, May 9 in Prescott Valley. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

First grade students at Coyote Springs Elementary School get their hot lunch in the school’s cafeteria Tuesday, May 9 in Prescott Valley. (Les Stukenberg/Courier)

The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 requires school food authorities participating in federally funded school lunch programs to provide the same level of support to for lunches served to students not eligible for free or reduced price lunches as they are for lunches served to students eligible for the free or reduced price lunches, said HUSD Director of Food & Nutrition Tami Hitt-Wyant. While the district received a waver and was able to skip a year of raising prices, it was not eligible for that waver this year, she said.

“So I used a weighted average and came up with a 15 cent increase to (kindergarten through eighth grade) meals with no increase to the high school meals,” Hitt-Wyant said. “Rounding that to the nearest quarter seems to make sense for the speed of getting students through the line in those short lunch periods.”

Paid student lunches for kindergarten through eighth grade will now be $2.25 for the 2017-2018 school year. Breakfast prices for both kindergarten through eighth grade and high school will remain constant.

Hitt-Wyant said she gets a $3.16 reimbursement for a free meal, a $2.48 reimbursement for a reduced price meal and 28 cents for an all-paid meal. All student meals are reimbursable and the goal is to see that paid price by the students reach to $3.16, she said.

“I don’t see a place where we’re going to do that,” Hitt-Wyant said. “My goal is to increase it as minimally as we can for the impact to our students.”

When first hearing about it, HUSD Governing Board Vice President Suzie Roth said she was taken back, but appreciated Hitt-Want for showing that it’s a $27 impact if a student ate every at lunch at school for a year. Putting it that way, it doesn’t sound so bad, Roth said.

HUSD Governing Board President Richard Adler echoed Roth’s sentiments.

“We never want to have to approve increases in the prices of these things,” he said. “But I have a lot of trust and faith that you keep a close eye on this and do it as minimally as humanly possible.”

The board approved the price increase unanimously.

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