Fayette school lunch prices to inch higher

Projected increases in food and kitchen-related supplies led to the approval last week of a 5-cent rise in elementary school lunches and 10-cent increases in middle and high school lunches in Fayette County schools beginning in August.

Prior to the increases, the price of lunch for elementary school students was $2.05 while those for middle and high school student was $2.15. The prices of other meals served in school cafeterias remained unchanged.

The vote by the Board of Education to raise lunch prices came on the recommendation of Nutrition Director Laurie Cartrett, who noted the coming year’s expected 4 percent increase in food costs and a 3 percent increase in the cost of supplies. Labor costs should remain the same, Cartrett said.

In advocating for the increase, Cartrett said the school system’s income will not increase at the same rate as expenses without an increase in meal prices.

The 5-cent increase for elementary lunches equates to a 2.5 percent increase while the 10-cent rise in the cost of middle and high school lunches represents a 4.4 percent increase, Cartrett said.

“Our state funding has dropped from $25,217 per month at the beginning of this (FY 2010) school year to $11,643 per month by May 2010,” Cartrett said. “Our federal reimbursement has not been announced. Our USDA commodity allotments have dropped from $435,447 in FY 2010 to $412,408 for FY 2011. We may be allotted more commodities later in the year, but currently no announcement has ben made concerning an increase in the USDA allotments.”