GCS Lunch Prices Increase to Meet Federal Legislation

The Board of Education approved Tuesday a 5-cent increase in lunch meal prices for the 2013-14 school year in conjunction with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The federal guidelines address not only the types and quantities of foods offered, but also how they are priced.

Currently, students in elementary, middle and high school pay $2.50 for lunch, and beginning next year, lunch will cost $2.55.

Districts were required to adhere to a meal-price equity requirement, in which the cost of a paid meal is equal to the difference between the free meal reimbursement ($2.94) and the paid meal reimbursement ($0.35). This comes to $2.59, or approximately $2.60.

While staff recommended a 10-cent increase to meet the requirement price and avoid the possibility of a more substantial increase in the future, the five-cent increase will not negatively affect the operations of school nutrition services.

The change approved by the board will not impact those receiving free or reduced-price meals, which accounts for more than 57 percent of all GCS students. Families who cannot afford to pay for their child's lunch may apply for free or reduced-price meals through their child's school. Applications must be renewed each year, but families can apply throughout the school year.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which brought the first major changes to school nutrition guidelines in 30 years, introduced a variety of foods. New meal patterns for lunch were introduced at the beginning of the school year, and similar changes will be introduced for breakfast in the 2013-14 school year.

These changes include:

  • ensuring students are offered both fruits and vegetables every day of the week;
  • requiring all grain products to be whole grain rich;
  • allowing only fat-free or low milk (flavored milk must be fat free);
  • limiting calories based on the grade of the student; and,
  • increasing efforts to reduce sodium, saturated fat and trans fat.

For more information, contact School Nutrition Services at 336-370-3266.