Education

School lunch price increase on the table

Escambia School Board will be asked to consider increasing the price of elementary breakfast, lunch and adult meals for 2015-2016 school year

The cost of a school breakfast and lunch is going up next year for elementary school students.

Adults who eat a school meal also will be asked to pay more.

Breakfast will cost $1.25 next school year at county elementary schools; lunch with cost $2.25. Both prices are increasing by 25 cents. The price of meals for adults also would increase: Breakfast would go from $1.80 to $2; lunch would go from $3 to $3.25.

Escambia School Board members will be asked to approve on the increase at tonight’s meeting. Read the agenda for the meeting here.

It will be the first price increase since the 2008-2009 school year.

“When you think about food prices in 2008 compared to where they are now,” says Superintendent Malcolm Thomas, “and what we’re required to feed students now in terms of fresh fruits and vegetables, as you well know, those things are more expensive.”

Thomas says the federal government also monitors the pricing for school meals to ensure that the people who are paying for lunch aren’t subsidized by the free and reduced-price lunch program.

By that calculation, the recommended price increase would be 41 cents per meal. Thomas says the quarter increase he is proposing will close that gap and minimize the impact on families.

“We don’t like to do it unless we have to,” Thomas says. “It’s another burden on a family.”

Thomas says 62 percent of the district’s 18,000 students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

Children living in households at or below 185 percent of the poverty level are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals at their schools. The federal poverty level for a family of four is $23,850 a year.

The price increase won’t impact those families.