A plan to raise the cost of school meals is one step closer to reality.
The Board of Education’s finance and infrastructure committee approved a plan that would raise school lunch prices by a quarter next school year. The cost of breakfast would go up 10 cents.
Click here for more information on the proposal, which now goes to the full board for a vote.
The last time school lunch prices increased was back in 2011.
The Department of Education initially proposed a three-year increase, but the plan was amended to one year with a follow-up.
Board members said they needed the department to closely examine the cost of preparing school meals and determine whether the increases were needed.
Currently, a lunch meal costs $2.25 for grades K through 8, and $2.50 for 9 though 12th grades. The School Food Services Branch provided numbers explaining why a 25-cent increase is necessary.
“We spent $10 million a year on milk, and milk alone here is about two and half times more than on the mainland. We’re just in a unique environment,” explained Dann Carlson, assistant superintendent for the office of school facilities and support services.
Under current USDA regulations, schools must incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables. Officials say raising lunch prices by a quarter allows the DOE to meet requirements.
“Obviously it’s the last thing the DOE wants to do is raise the price. We don’t want to put this burden on parents. But at the same time, to be fiscally responsible, we feel it’s the time to do it,” Carlson said. “I’m going to go back, try to find further efficiencies that maybe we can reduce the costs, what it actually costs us to make a lunch, so that we again don’t have to ask for those future increases,”
“It should be affordable for parents. Because of the times we’re living in, cost of living is high,” said Caroline Shimabukuro. “I don’t think they should raise it for the children’s meals.”
“That’s not that much,” said grandmother Marie Protacio. “My math is bad, but I would do anything not to have to prepare the lunches myself. Eck.”
If approved, the proposal would go in effect starting July for the 2015-2016 school year.
The DOE will meet in front of the full board for a vote in April.