Lincoln Public Schools proposing a 5 cent increase for full price lunches

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Parents of Lincoln Public School students, do you make lunch for your child, or do they eat in the cafeteria?

Not only are food prices rising at the grocery store, but they are also rising at schools.

Nothing is final at the moment, as the LPS Board of Education discussed the increase for the first time on Tuesday.

They are proposing a 5 cent increase only for lunch and only for students who already pay full price.

“Whenever there is a price increase, there is definitely implications that come from that,” said Andrew Ashelford, LPS director of nutrition services.  “We are hoping that the modest price increase will not significantly hinder students from getting meals.”

Lunch prices at LPS have not been increased for about six years.  At this time, the board doesn’t plan to raise the price of breakfast meals.

“We know what’s going on with inflation in the economy right now, so we don’t want to put too much on the families, but we also have to be responsible for the cost that we are incurring,” Ashelford said.  “We are seeing significant food costs and disposable costs each day with pretty much every order that we place. So we want to stay on top of that so our department stays financially stable.”

At LPS over 54% of students pay full price for meals.  Families who are interested in signing up for free or reduced lunch can do so starting on July 1st.

“Students that remain free, will remain free. Breakfast and lunches will remain free for those students,” Ashelford said.  “Students that are on reduced, which once again is determined by the free and reduced application, that will be at 40 cents for lunch.”

Inflation has caused food prices to increase in the grocery store, and families who make their own lunch are likely to pay more than a 5 cent increase.

“We have just under 42,000 students in the district, and currently we feed right under 26,000 lunches a day,” Ashelford said.

This change will come to about a $22 increase for children who eat school lunch every day, according to Ashelford.

“It’s not a significant increase, but it is an increase. We are well aware of the implications it has on families, but we also want to make sure we communicate well that our nutrition, the meals we serve, really help the students excel in the classroom,” Ashelford said.

LPS is doing what it can to keep costs low by buying in bulk and looking for local options.

“We have a nutritional services warehouse that has refrigeration, freezer, and dry storage. This allows us to get the product in early, and also allows us to buy semi-loads of product at a time,” Ashelford said.

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