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Originally published: 2012-05-24 13:17:56
Last modified: 2012-05-24 13:20:47

Avery County Schools’ lunch prices going up …

The prices of school lunches in Avery County Schools are going up. The Healthy, Hunger-free Act of 2010 requires school food authorities participating in the National School Lunch Program to ensure sufficient funds are provided to the nonprofit school food service account for meals served to students not eligible for free or reduced-price meals. In order to meet this requirement and remain in compliance, Avery County Schools must increase its prices. 

Tammy Woodie, Avery County Schools Child Nutrition director, said, “We have completed the USDA price equity tool and found that our weighted average lunch price increase for the 2012-13 school year should be 14 cents. USDA has put a cap on the required increase per year at 10 cents. Avery County Schools has chosen to only increase lunch prices to the required cap of 10 cents,” she said. “We will be required to annually review our paid lunch prices until it meets the difference between the free and paid federal reimbursement rates. This year’s price to be in complete compliance would have been $2.51. The federal government is saying that we should not be using the funds that they give us to provide free lunches for kids to subsidize paid student meals. We will have to raise paid lunch prices each year until it meets those federal guidelines for reimbursement rates. It was our recommendation that we only raise the prices by what is required each year because it is a hardship on our parents to have to increase the prices of school lunch in our economy. In order to operate the National School Lunch program we have to follow federal regulations.

“Avery County Schools currently has over 59 percent of our district receiving free and reduced-lunch benefits. The price increase will be affecting almost 41 percent of our student population,” continued Woodie. “Lunch prices for next school year ill be $2.10 for middle and high school students and $1.85 for elementary school students. We highly encourage everyone to fill out the free and reduced-lunch applications that are sent home on the first day of school.  This is not only beneficial to your family if you qualify; it is also beneficial to your child’s school. The free and reduced lunch percentage affects the number of teachers at each school, the price we are charged for Internet services and determines if that school might qualify for grants.” 

Avery County Schools Child Nutrition program provides healthy meals to more than 1,768 students and staff each day