Sunday, September 25, 2022

LPS Board of Education proposes school lunch price increase


LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – For the first time in around six years, Lincoln Public School families could see increases in school lunch prices.

On Tuesday, the Board of Education discussed the proposed increase as inflation affects not only families, but schools across the country.

For the last two years, all LPS students have received free school lunches paid by the USDA. This fall, families will not only have to start paying in the fall, but potentially see a five cent increase.

With the proposed increase, lunch prices could go up to $2.50 per meal for elementary students, $2.70 for middle school students, and $2.85 for high school students.

LPS’ director of nutrition services, Andrew Ashelford, said the five cents will help offset rising food prices.

“Some of the biggest items we’re seeing is on chicken products we’re ranging between 20-40% increases next year,” Ashelford said. “Some of our bread products, grain is increasingly significantly right now. We’re seeing the cost of a hamburger bun is going up pennies but it adds up when you’re feeding 26,000 students a day.”

The proposed price increase would not affect students receiving free or reduced lunch. Breakfast prices would also remain the same.

“It’s a modest increase,” Ashelford said. “We know what’s going on with inflation and 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 costs we’re incurring.”

According to LPS, the district serves around 26,000 meals daily, with 54% being full price lunches. That’s about 14,040 full price lunches each day, which with the five cent increase, would bring in $700 a day and $126,000 a school year.

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

As for students, the five cent increase per lunch would cost about $9 for the whole year.

The board of education will take action on the proposed price increases at the next board meeting.

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