COVINGTON — Local school lunch prices won’t increase afterall.
Earlier this year, the Newton County Board of Education approved an increase to student meal prices 10 cents at both the elementary and secondary levels for this school year due to a federal mandate.
“As a result of the fund balance currently maintained by the School Nutrition Program, the Georgia Department of Education School Nutrition Program has given (the Newton County School System) approval to maintain lunch meal prices at the 2013 school year levels,” reported Craig Lockhart, deputy superintendent at NCSS, at a recent school board meeting. “This approval is based on a recent revision of the (the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s) regulation for meal price equity.”
As a result, elementary school students will continue to pay $1.60 for lunch, and secondary students will pay $1.80, like this past school year.
Adult lunch prices were set to remain at $3 anyway, and breakfast prices also weren’t to be affected.
The federal mandate, called the National School Lunch Program: School Food Service Account Revenue Amendments Related to the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, requires that meal prices must increase to an amount equal to the federal reimbursement rate over the next eight years. The meal price target for fiscal year 2014 is $2.59 for paid meals. The increases are necessary to begin progressing toward meeting the USDA rule, according to NCSS.
Last year, NCSS increased lunches by 10 cents for elementary and secondary students and 25 cents for adults. The mandate was implemented the year before, but NCSS opted not to increase the prices until last year. Before that, NCSS has not increased student meal prices since the 2005-06 school year.