Lunch prices edge up

For the second time in as many years, students attending Oak Harbor schools will have to pay more for their lunches.

The school board recently approved increasing breakfast and lunch prices for students in all of the schools. The board approved a 15 cent increase for lunches and a 10 cent increase for breakfasts.

Operations Director Bruce Worley said the school district is bracing for inflationary increases in the cost of food, especially in dairy and produce.

“The school district is being hit hard by those costs,” Worley said during the school board meeting.

Officials are expecting food prices to rise by $55,000 next school year. In addition, the district anticipates a $26,000 increase in staff and supply costs associated with the lunch program.

Worley said the cost increase wouldn’t affect the 33 percent of students who participate in the free and reduced lunch program. It also doesn’t affect students in grades kindergarten through third, who, thanks to state funding, all receive free lunches.

It costs the school district approximately $1.6 million to run the food program and it produces a slight profit of $11,000 after expenses. After the price hike, the amount it makes will increase to an estimated $54,000.

“We have to start putting money back into our equipment,” Worley said.

The price increase means elementary school students will pay $2.15 for lunch and high school students will pay $2.40 for lunch.

Superintendent Rick Schulte noted that even with the increase, students are paying a good price.

“If you can feed a high school student for $2.40 then I’d like to know where that place is,” Schulte said.

The newest increase is the second time in as many years that officials increased meal prices. Prior to that, the cost for school lunches had remained the same since the program started in 2001.

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