Columbia Public Schools Discusses Raising School Lunch Prices

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Public Schools finance committee met Wednesday afternoon to discuss the 2012-2013 school year budget. CPS officials discussed possibly raising school lunch prices by ten cents. The nutrition department recommended raising prices by ten cents to meet the USDA recommendation of charging $2.51 per lunch.

The possible price increase means lunches for junior high and high school students would cost $2.50 instead of $2.40, and elementary school lunches would cost $2.25 instead of $2.15. The USDA recommends raising prices by ten cents a school year until districts meet the $2.51 mark. That way federal funding will pay for more school lunches. $2.51 is the difference between the amount of federal funding the district receives for free and reduced lunches and the amount received for paid lunches, $2.77 and twenty six cents respectively.

With more than 170 days in the school year, the price increase means families could pay about $17 more per student each year. "The households it will have an impact on are those who don't quite qualify for free and reduced meals," Columbia Public Schools Nutrition Services Director Laina Fullum said.

The school board is set to vote on this price increase Monday, and the increase could go into effect this August.