The Clarkstown Board of Education approved breakfast and lunch price increases beginning next month. Elementary school breakfast will cost 50 cents more and lunches at all school levels will rise by 20 cents in response to increasing food prices.
The breakfast price will go up in the elementary schools from $1 to $1.50 and the lunch price will rise from $2.30 to $2.50. In the middle and high schools, breakfast will remain at $1.50 but lunch will increase to $2.70 from $2.50.
Assistant Superintendent for Business, Facilities & Fiscal Management John LaNave said federal law requires school districts to increase their meal costs by five cents annually but higher food prices this year require a more significant adjustment.
“We’re looking at cost increases of $50,000 year over year,” said LaNave.
He told the school board on Thursday that the district spends about $3 million annually for food.
Most other districts in Rockland County are also proposing some increases for the 2012-2013 school year. When averaged across all school districts in the county, the anticipated cost in elementary schools would be $1.25 for breakfas and $2.24 for lunch. In the middle and high schools, breakfast potential meal costs would be $1.36 and the lunch tab would be $2.46.
The board also discussed setting up a school lunch policy for when a student depletes the money in their “My Lunch Money” program or does not have money for meals. "My Lunch Money" is a prepaid program through which parents or guardians provide money for students’ meals. LaNave provided the board members with copies of policies from other school districts.
Clarkstown Food Service Director Rob Preiss told the board for the past school year there was an outstanding amount of $6,000 for unpaid mealbills. He said the cumulative amount, which has built up over several years, is $15,000.
LaNave said the number of children receiving free and reduced price meals in the district has increased yearly as has the number of delinquent accounts. The federal government reimburses districts $1.65 per breakfast and $2.79 for lunches for students enrolled in its free and reduced meal price program.
Preiss said when a student’s “My Lunch Money” account is depleted and not replenished, parents or guardians are notified. If a student attends school and does not have a lunch, money or funds in the “My Lunch Money” account, he or she is given the menu meal of the day.
The appropriate school principal is contacted to find out if there has been a change in the family’s financial situation and whether they should be sent applications for the federal government’s free and reduced lunch program.