Committee endorses proposal to raise Quincy's school lunch prices by 10 cents

Posted: Jul. 22, 2014 8:43 pm Updated: Aug. 5, 2014 9:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Lunch prices in the Quincy School District are likely to rise by 10 cents this fall.

The School Board's Finance Committee on Tuesday endorsed a proposal to bump up the price as recommended by Jean Kinder, the district's food service director. Kinder said the district must raise its lunch prices at least 10 cents to meet the minimum increase mandated by a law governing the national school lunch program.

School districts that charge students less than $2.65 per lunch are required by law to charge incrementally more each year, if necessary, to bring the district's total revenue for paid meals closer in line with the federal reimbursement for subsidized meals.

The federal government reimburses the Quincy School District $2.93 for each free meal served at lunchtime, and it reimburses the district 28 cents for each fully paid meal. The difference -- $2.65 -- is what the district theoretically should be charging for paid lunches. However, Kinder said the "weighted average price" charged by the Quincy School District is only $2.11, based on the average currently paid in all grades.

A complicated federal formula requires the district's weighted average price to be at least $2.20, so that's why Kinder is recommending the 10-cent increase.

"We'll still meet the requirement, but it won't put as much burden on families right away," Kinder said.

If the School Board approves the recommended price hike, students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade will pay $2.10 per lunch, up 5 percent from the current $2, while students in grades 7-12 will be charged $2.35 per lunch, up 4.4 percent from the current $2.25.

For a single student buying every meal in the school cafeteria, that works out to a total increase of $17.60 for the year, Kinder said.

The price increase will not affect students who qualify for the free or reduced-price lunch program, which is based on family income. Nor will it affect the district's breakfast program, which will continue to be priced at the same level as this year -- $1.25 per meal.