(Clarinda) – As schools resume charging for lunch and breakfast offerings, the Clarinda School District has raised prices slightly.
At its regular meeting on Wednesday afternoon, the Clarinda School Board unanimously approved a $0.10 increase in the price of its meals for the 2022-23 school year, as recommended by the Director of Julia Harris food service. The move comes after the end of a waiver granted to the USDA to provide school lunches to all students, regardless of income. Clarinda School Superintendent Jeff Privia told KMA News Congress that the program was offered during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this program ended at the end of last month.
“The state received a grant to pay all students in Iowa for the past two years due to COVID, and that money has run out,” Privia said. “We will go back to where we were a few years ago, where our parents pay for school meals.”
However, Privia notes that removing the waiver does not remove the free and reduced meal plans currently offered based on the student’s family income.
Privia says that this decision is mainly accompanied by an increase in food prices.
“We need this budget to be self-funded, so we just need to make sure we meet all the costs that are charged to us, because this is an independent program,” Privia said. “We’re really going to have to look at whether we’re raising prices or not and we’re really looking at that in the spring. Seeing what our offers are going to do for milk and bread.”
Additionally, Privia explained that several factors play into the food budget, as they try to keep their prices as low as possible.
“Not only do you have your labor cost, but you also have your delivery cost from where you order your food,” Privia said. “We also have products that we get from the state, and it’s at a reduced cost, which really helps our budget. Our new manager will do a very good job, I’m sure, of ensuring that we kept our meals as low as possible when we go to blame our parents.”
With the increases, lunches for PK-6 students are now $2.80, high school students $2.95, and adults $3.95. Meanwhile, breakfasts are $1.40 for all students and $2.05 for adults.