Sunday, April 14, 2024

WJCC Lunch Prices to Increase by 10 Cents

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Lunch prices for Williamsburg-James City County Schools are set to increase by 10 cents for the 2014-2015 school year as the division continues to participate in the National School Lunch Program, which provides free and reduced-price lunches to students.

In order to meet the requirements of The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which WJCC schools joined in 2011, the price of a paid school lunch must be greater than the difference between the total federal reimbursement for a free lunch and the total federal reimbursement for a paid lunch.

The reimbursement for free lunch is $2.99, while the reimbursement for paid lunch is 34 cents. That $2.65 difference was greater than the current paid lunch price, so 10 cents were added to lunch prices.

The Williamsburg-James City County School Board will vote at its meeting Aug. 5 to approve the price change. If approved, elementary school lunches will cost $2.40, middle school lunches will cost $2.50, and high school lunches will range in cost from $2.65 to $3.40. Breakfast and snack prices will remain the same.

This required price increase ensures that schools provide the same level of support for students paying for lunch as for students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches.

During the 2013-14 school year, 3,501 students were eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, according to the Department of Education’s statistics on the program.

Chief Financial Officer Terry Stone provided information at the July 22 board meeting that showed the total number of paid lunches served has dropped by more than 178,000 since the 2009-10 school year, while the cost has risen from $2 in 2009 to $2.30 in 2013.

Concerns were raised by board members over the amount of à la carte sales, which exceeded 1 million in the 2013-2014 school year — being much higher than the amount of total lunches served, which were a little more than 690,000.

Stone said there are many variables, including the growing student population and menu changes, that factor into the decreasing number of lunches served.

Jane Haley, supervisor of child nutrition for WJCC schools, said a balanced à la carte meal is more expensive than a regular lunch. Students cannot use free or reduced-price lunches to purchase à la carte food.

Families receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) are eligible for free meals regardless of income. Families participating in The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) may also be eligible for free or reduced-price lunches based on household income.

Click here to learn more and view the application.

The York County School Board voted in May to increase the price of meals in York County schools by 10 cents to comply with the National School Lunch Program’s requirements. York County schools’ lunch prices range from $2.45 to $2.55, with breakfast prices raised to between $1.35 and $1.45.

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