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Board give school breakfast, lunch prices minimal hike

July 24. 2014 11:17AM
School meal prices were raised by the school board at its July 14 meeting with an across the board increase of 10 cents per meal. Breakfast prices for 2014-15 at the elementary, middle school and high school were set at $1.60, $1.75 and $1.80 respectively. Lunch prices were set at $2.55, $2.80 and $2.85 at the three levels.

The USDA requires the district to use its pricing calculator to determine minimum pricing levels and to be sure the free and reduced federal reimbursements are not subsidizing paid meals. The calculator required a minimum average increase of 7 cents per meal. However, other variables in the equation led to a recommendation from school administration that the increase be 10 cents per meal.

As anyone who shops for food knows, prices are on the increase at the supermarket. Even though the school district buys very efficiently through a bulk-buying coop with Harrisburg and Yankton, the district’s costs are increasing. The new USDA requirement to add a serving of fruit to each breakfast served has an average added cost of 25 cents per meal. Milk contract prices are also up. The cost of cereals is up 8 to 10 cents per serving. Prices are up and the requirements for what must be on the tray are also adding cost.

The federal reimbursement rates were just released and they have been increased 4 cents for breakfast and 5 cents per lunch. This is enough to just cover the increased milk cost.

The Brandon Valley Child Nutrition Department runs a very efficient operation with cost control procedures for the food purchases and a serve more meals/labor hour than average, which indicates a very efficient use of labor. The district is always seeking ways to control costs, but the reality is that everything costs more. The 10-cent hike in prices is just part of that reality.

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