School lunch fee increases

Published 8:48 am Tuesday, July 19, 2011

JACKSON — Northampton County Public Schools students who purchase lunch will be paying five cents more beginning next month.

At their last regular meeting, the Northampton County Board of Education voted 6 to 1 to increase the price of a paid student lunch from $1.60 to $1.65. Board member Rhonda Taylor opposed the measure.

The school board had initially tabled their decision last month when administrators suggested a 25-cent hike due to the increase requirement set by section 205 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-296), which requires school districts to raise their paid lunch prices to the same as federal reimbursements for free lunches. The reimbursement rate is $2.76.

In a previous meeting, Child Nutrition Director Carolyn Williams spoke to the board about the law and the increase.

“What the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) is asking us to do is to make a gradual increase in this price,” she explained to board members. “We do not have to go but so much each year.”

Williams added the final ruling on the law was that the school district can raise the price two percent of the current average paid price ($1.60). The board had a choice of raising the price five cents this school year and another five cents next, or they could decide to raise the price 10 cents this year.

At the same meeting, Taylor voiced her opposition to the increase. She pointed out the fact that with breakfast included, parents are already paying $2.35 for each child they have in the school district.

“I fall into that category, I’m just speaking for the parents out there,” she said.