The district was recently asked to approve an increase of lunch prices by 10 cents for full paying students for the 2016-2017 school year. Prices for next year will be $2.85 cents for grades 5-12 and $2.60 for grades K-4.
The USDA, who oversees the school’s breakfast and lunch programs, reimburses the school for students who receive free and reduced lunches. For each student who receives a free lunch, the USDA reimburses the district $2.78. Under new mandates, the USDA requires that school districts charge full paying students a rate that is, on average, equivalent to the reimbursement paid to the district.
That means that the average cost of lunch for all grades must be $2.78. In the 2015-2016 school year, the average cost for K-12 lunch in Cardington was $2.63. Changes for next year will raise that average to $2.73. The district had applied for a waiver to ODE and the USDA, but it was denied.
What if we don’t charge the equivalent average? The USDA would make the district make up the difference for each meal served at the lower prices.
What about future increases? The district will most likely apply for a waiver once again for the 2017-2018 school year before deciding on any future increases to lunch prices.