It's been three years since the price of meals has gone up for students and teachers in the Clinton Public School District.
But now, increasing food and labor costs are necessitating a price increase, said Child Nutrition Director Regina Ducksworth.
"The cost of everything has gone up," she said. "We try not to go up on our prices, but with the economy the way it is we have no choice but to increase the price to cover the cost of food."
Clinton schools use a federally funded, nonprofit food service program, she said, but "we are required to cover the cost of meals."
The mandate stems from the federal Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 and the National School Lunch Program.
"The way for us to do that is to make sure that we're charging students enough to cover the cost of meals," she said.
Effective for the 2013-2014 school year:
Student lunches – increasing from $2.25 to $2.50 per day
Student breakfast – increasing from $1.50 to $1.75 per day.
Adult (teacher) breakfast – increasing from $1.75 to $2 per day
Adult lunch – increasing from $3 to $3.25 per day
The lunch cost includes an entrée, bread, fruit, vegetable and a beverage.
"For this, you get a full meal, and a balanced meal," Ducksworth said. "It's still a great price, and it's healthy. We have to keep the fat content at 30 percent or less. And parents know that their kids are getting a good, hot meal each day."
If there is a hardship, "parents can apply at any time during the year for free and reduced meals," she said. "There are applications at every school, in most school offices and cafeterias. If your income drops, you may be eligible. It does not hurt to go ahead and apply."
Through My Payments Plus, parents can also pay in advance for student meals.
"You can pay for the day, the week, the month, semester or year in advance," she said. "You can also go on there and see if your child is eating. If they're purchasing snacks, you can see what they are purchasing."
Lunch menus and links to My Payments Plus are available on the district's Web site, www.clintonpublicschools.com. For more information, contact the Child Nutrition department at (601) 924-4002.
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