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BOE nears 76% lunch boost


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POSTED: Tuesday, June 09, 2009
                       
This story has been corrected.  See below.

State Board of Education members appeared ready yesterday to pass a 76 percent increase in the price of public school lunches.

The board's Administrative Services Committee recommended approval of the lunch price hike to $2.20 from $1.25 with an effective date of Jan. 1. There was little comment from those favoring the proposal.

The committee's approval goes to the board for final action. No date has been set for the vote.

The state Legislature required a price increase this year to help to meet an expected $5 million to $6 million deficit in the meals program. Under the new law, the state Department of Education is required to charge a meal price that is at least 50 percent of the cost of preparing a meal.

Committee Chairman John Penebacker, the lone dissenter, said he was worried about the “;the financial burden the law will have on families already struggling to make ends meet.”;

Board member Karen Knudsen, who abstained from the vote, said she wants a detailed cost breakdown of why a lunch costs an estimated $4.40. Knudsen said she thinks the cost is high, in light of the number of students served daily.

With a student enrollment of some 170,500, the department serves some 100,000 meals daily, including breakfast and lunch.

A little more than 51,500 students pay the full price, while more than 44,330 students receive meals free or at a discount, according to rough estimates from state school officials. Some of these students eat both breakfast and lunch.

Glenna Owens, state school food service director, said indications are there will be an increase in the free or subsidized students due to the slow economy. She said the price hike might not meet the expected deficit.

“;We're hoping the shortfall will be less,”; she said.

In the past, Owens said, the Legislature helped to meet the shortfall through appropriations from the general fund, but there is no money in the general fund now to make up the deficit.

Under a program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the program receives a subsidy for a qualified student receiving a free or discounted meal.

               

     

 

BOE to consider increase in school meals

        The state Board of Education will consider a proposal that would increase meal prices for public school students on Jan. 1:
       

» Breakfast (full student price): 95 cents from 35 cents

       

» Breakfast (reduced price to students with financial hardships): 30 cents from 20 cents

       

» Lunch (full student price): $2.20 from $1.25

       

» Lunch (reduced price to students with financial hardships): 40 cents from 20 cents

       

               

     

 

CORRECTION

       

       

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

       

» The state Board of Education's Administrative Services Committee approved an increase in the price of public school meals and also recommended returning Wailupe Valley Elementary School to the city, which owns the land. Originally, this article called it the Committee on Administration.