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Carroll school meal prices on the rise

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By Christopher Brooke, Reporter

HILLSVILLE — A federal mandate will cause student meals to go up by a nickel for Carroll’s 2012-2013 school year.
This is the second year in a row for the increase in order to meet the requirements of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, according to information considered by the Carroll County School Board at its meeting last Thursday.
School divisions that charge less than $2.51 for their paid lunches have to adjust their lunch prices. “The amount of the per meal increase will be calculated using 2 percent plus the inflation factor of 2.18 percent for a total of 4.18 percent, as specified by the law,” the school board information said. “The law caps the required increase in lunch prices at 10 cents in any year.”
In order to meet the mandate, staff recommended that full-price student breakfasts and lunch go up by five cents each.
That would make the prices 90 cents for breakfast for grades K-7 and 95 cents for grades 8-12, with the reduced price remaining at 30 cents.
Lunches would go to $1.65 for grades K-7 and to $1.75 for grades 8-12, with the reduced price remaining at 40 cents.
School officials will have to increase fees until they get up to the federal meals reimbursement level. “A nickel’s increase over the next few years will gradually get us to where we need to be,” explained Tammy Quesenberry, the schools finances manager.
All school systems are going to have to address this. School boards have little choice in this matter as it is a federal requirement, Superintendent Greg Smith noted.
The student meals are expanding. From now on, if students order a hamburger, they will also get a serving of fruits or vegetables to go with it, School Board Chairman Brian Spencer said.
After some hesitation, the board approved the nickel increase.