The Commerce Journal

June 20, 2013

School meal prices to increase by 5 cents annually

By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — Parents can expect their children’s school food costs to increase by 5 cents next year.

Currently, Commerce ISD elementary students pay $1.35 for breakfast and $2.10 for lunch, and the middle and high school charges students $1.60 for breakfast and $2.35 for lunch.

Next year, all costs will increase by 5 cents.

Commerce ISD participates in the National School Lunch Program, which is a federally assisted meal program that provides free lunches for students whose families are at the poverty level, and reduced-cost lunches for families up to a certain percent above the poverty level.

More than 60 percent of CISD students qualify for free or reduced lunches.

CISD gets reimbursed $2.59 from the federal government for every free meal it provides, which is more than it charges for daily meals. According to John Walker, finance director for CISD, “The price cannot be lower than the reimbursement rate the government gives for free or reduced lunches.”

The rule is a part of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The act requires schools to increase the amount charged for students who pay for their meals to be closer to the $2.59 reimbursement rate.

Walker said the district will continue to see a 5 cent increase until it gets within the range the federal government requires.