Breakfast, lunch prices increasing for CCS students

BY ZACHARY HORNER, News + Record Staff
Posted 6/14/19

PITTSBORO — Chatham County Schools students will be paying slightly more next year for purchasing breakfast and lunch.

The Chatham County Board of Education voted Monday night to the lunch price …

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Breakfast, lunch prices increasing for CCS students

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Posted

PITTSBORO — Chatham County Schools students will be paying slightly more next year for purchasing breakfast and lunch.

The Chatham County Board of Education voted Monday night to the lunch price by 15 cents to $3 and the breakfast cost by 25 cents to $1.50. The raise is the first change in school meal prices since August 2016.

Audrey Stewart, the district’s interim director of school nutrition services, told the board that the change was made to stay in compliance with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s pricing guidelines, as set by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The law requires that local school food authorities, or SFAs, “provide the same level of support for lunches served to students who are not eligible for free or reduce price lunches as they are for lunches served to students eligible for free lunches.”

Districts are required to compare the average price charged for paid lunches to the difference federal reimbursements for free and paid lunches. If the average price is less than the difference, school nutrition programs are required to gradually adjust the prices or provide state or local-level funding to cover that gap. According to a USDA fact sheet, “pricing paid lunches below the cost of production effectively increases federal subsidies for higher income children,” thus causing money intended for free lunches to “fill in the gap.”

Chatham County’s previous lunch price of $2.85 covered the gap, but it was 15 cents short of the federal reimbursement rate for paid lunches. The change was made, according to Monday’s agenda, “based on the gap and the federal regulations.”

The county’s previous breakfast price was $1.25, making it less than the reimbursement difference of $1.48. Monday’s agenda cited the 23-cent gap as the reason for recommending the price increase.

The changes will take effect at the beginning of the 2019-20 school year and will cover all grade levels.

Reporter Zachary Horner can be reached at zhorner@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @ZachHornerCNR.

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