School districts set new meal prices
Most districts raise rates by 5-10 cents per USDA requirements
Local school districts have set their meal prices for the coming school year, and per federal regulation, every district in Barry County that charges for meals has seen a slight hike in prices.
Dusty Reid, director of facilities and operations at the Cassville school district, said each year, districts are mandated to use a paid lunch equity tool provided by the United States Department of Agriculture. The tool was created to help districts calculate their increase to meet the requirements of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which provides funding for child nutrition programs and increases access to healthy foods for children in low-income homes.
At the Cassville district, all meal prices were raised 5 cents. Kindergarten through fifth grade breakfast is $1.25, and lunch is $1.95; breakfast for sixth through eighth grades is $1.50, and lunch is $2.05; and breakfast at the high school is $1.50, with lunch at $2.30.
“This year, the tool indicated we should raise prices 10 cents, but this year we applied and qualified for an exemption, but we still raised prices 5 cents to try to keep prices down but even, that way we won’t have to raise it drastically in future years,” Reid said. “We follow the recommendations, but we also want to help families as much as we can.”
At the Purdy school district, breakfast for students rose from $1.25 to $1.35. As for lunch, kindergarten through sixth grade prices went up from $1.75 to $2, and grades 7-12 lunch rose 15 cents to $2.15.
Superintendent Steven Chancellor said the change aimed at bringing the district to a more level standing for its reimbursements.
At the Wheaton school district, prices went up 10 cents across the board, which Superintendent Lance Massey said was the maximum amount allowed.
We are supposed to raise it more than 10 cents, but the state says we can’t raise it any more than a dime,” he said. “The last two years have been 10-cent raises.”
Breakfast for all students at Wheaton is $1.40, kindergarten through sixth grade lunch is $1.65 and lunch for grades 7-12 is $1.90.
Exeter schools also raised prices by 10 cents. District-wide, breakfast is $1.25. Elementary lunch is $1.95, and high school lunch is $2.20.
“We try to keep prices as low as possible and don’t increase more than what’s required,” said Ernest Raney, superintendent.
Southwest schools saw a smaller increase of 5 cents across the board for lunches. Breakfast went up 25 cents to $1.50. Kindergarten through fourth grade lunch is $1.80, and lunch for grades 5-12 is $2.05.
Sporting a meal plan different from all others in Barry County is the Shell Knob No. 78 district, which has grades kindergarten through eighth. It is part of the Community Eligibility Provision program, which allows all its students meals for free. It is the fifth year Shell Knob has been part of the program.