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School lunch prices likely to increase
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An increase in student lunch prices may soon be on the way as the Newton County Board of Education reviewed a proposed 10-cent increase to lunch prices for all paid students for the 2013-14 fiscal school year, which begins July 1.

Jan Loomans, director of operational services for the Newton County School System, presented the board with recommendations for a 10-cent increase for all paid student lunches at Tuesday’s work session.

Elementary school lunch prices would increase from $1.60 to $1.70, and secondary school lunches would go from $1.85 to $1.95.

Adult lunch meal prices will remain at $3. Adult meal prices are set at the total actual cost of a lunch meal plus the meal value of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture foods received by the district as required. Breakfast meal prices will remain at the current level and not change.

According to the recommendation, the USDA’s rule — the National School Lunch Program: School Food Service Account Revenue Amendments related to the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 — requires school food authorities participating in the National School Lunch Program to ensure sufficient funds are provided to the nonprofit school food service account for meals served to students who are not eligible for free or reduced price meals.

Under the rule, there are two ways to meet the requirement, either through prices charged for paid meals or through other non-federal sources provided to the nonprofit school food service account.

The USDA annually provides school food authorities a paid lunch equity calculator, which calculates the required price increase. The required increase for Fiscal year 2014 is $0.08 based on the USDA Paid Lunch Equity Calculator.

“Unfortunately we have to increase our prices based on the paid lunch equity calculator,” Loomans said.

A vote on the recommended increase will take place during the board’s next regularly scheduled meeting on March 19.

For more on this story and the BOE meeting, continue to check