The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local Schools

July 10, 2012

Lunch prices to increase at Clinton schools

CLINTON — Lunch prices for Clinton Community School District students will increase by 5 cents next year after the Clinton Community School Board on Monday approved the change 6-1.

Clinton School District Food Service Director Jeff Weaver explained the increase comes in response to federal regulations, which require schools that receive reimbursements for free and reduced price lunches from the federal government, close the gap between what they are reimbursed and what the school district charges for a paid lunch.

The changes are designed to create equitable pricing across districts.

“This is not necessarily our choice to do it, but we have to do it by federal guidelines,” Weaver said.

Approximately 59 percent of students in the Clinton School District receive free or reduced price lunches, compared to the 38 percent Iowa average.

Despite already starting this fiscal year, the school district hasn’t received notification regarding what the reimbursement rate will be for this school year. Last school year, the school was reimbursed $2.77 for free lunches and 26 cents for paid lunches.

Reduced lunch prices will remain at 40 cents, as this price is set by the federal government.

Board member Missey Sullivan-Pope, who cast the lone dissenting vote, said she did so due to concern for the financial strain even a nickel increase could have on families.

“Five cents for some people is a lot of money,” she said. “It adds up over time.”

During a School Board meeting in May, Weaver explained the school district will try to close the reimbursement gap slowly rather than abruptly. 

Lunch prices were raised slightly in January as well.

The price increase is also due in part to new federal guidelines for what schools have to serve to students.  Weaver outlined those changes during the same  school board meeting in May.  Changes include increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables students take in as well as monitoring caloric intake more strictly.  

The new lunch prices and menu changes will be in effect at the beginning of the school year.

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