School lunch prices have been on the rise nationwide for close to a decade now, after the federal government launched an initiative to have schools raise lunch prices to match the price they are reimbursed for free and reduced lunches.
But STMA’s lunch prices will stay the same next year, which will mark the third straight year at the current prices of $2.50 for elementary lunch and $2.65 for middle and high school students.
The district received an exemption from the mandatory price increase due to the high fund balance in their school lunch fund. Funds from this account cannot be spent on general education expenses; they must go toward lunches or kitchen supplies, appliances or updates. The fund balance currently sits at 37 percent, or $1.25 million.
Superintendent Dr. Ann-Marie Foucault said the district will continue to do kitchen renovations and equipment updates with the lunch fund balance, which she called much-needed.
“The district will also be adding a breakfast program next year and [we] do not know what the participation will be,” she added.
STMA’s lunch prices have increased from $1.95 for elementary and $2.05 for secondary in 2009-2010 to the current rates in 2016.