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School lunch prices to rise

By Steve Huffman
Salisbury Post
Meal prices for students in the Rowan-Salisbury School System will increase for the 2008-2009 school year.
An increase in prices was approved unanimously by members of the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education at their monthly meeting Monday.
The increases are relatively tame, amounting to no more than 15 cents per meal for students and 25 cents for adults. The prices for students getting free or reduced-cost meals ó approximately 50 percent of all students in the system ó will not increase.
The request for the price increase was made by Assistant Superintendent Walter Hart and Libby Post, director of food services.
Hart said the school system’s Child Nutrition Program operates much like a business, the only exception being that the schools weren’t looking to make a profit from it.
He noted that the last time there was an increase in meal prices in the system was in 2006, and said prices elsewhere have skyrocketed in the two years since.
“Anyone who’s gone grocery shopping knows you can’t buy it for what you used to buy it for,” Hart said.
He said a slight increase now may offset the need for a more dramatic increase in the future, and noted that even with the increase, the system is still even with ó and often below ó the prices charged in surrounding school systems.Here’s how the price increases break down:
– Breakfast ó increasing from 90 cents to $1.
– Lunch for elementary school students ó increasing from $1.75 to $1.85.
– Lunch for middle and high school students ó increasing from $1.85 to $2.
– Adult lunches ó increasing from $2.75 to $3.
Post noted that 50 percent of the money taken in through the Child Nutrition Program goes for food and the remainder goes to cover salaries.
She said skyrocketing fuel prices are to blame for the lion’s share of the increase in food prices.
“Every time I talk to a vendor, they say it’s not going to get any better,” Post said. “We feel we really need to do this.”
Contact Steve Huffman at 704-797-4222 or shuffman@salisburypost.com.

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