School lunch price to increase 20 centsSchool lunch prices in the Somerset School District will rise 20 cents when the school year resumes in January.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
School lunch prices in the Somerset School District will rise 20 cents when the school year resumes in January.
Lunch prices at the Somerset Elementary School will now be $1.90 per meal. Students at the Middle School and High School will now be charged $2.05 per meal. This will not affect families on free and reduced lunch price programs.
This move was approved by the Somerset Board of Education at its Dec. 15 meeting. Letters were sent out at the end of last week informing parents of the changes in the lunch program prices.
Before the price changes, Somerset’s school lunch prices were below the average for school districts in western Wisconsin. As of Nov. 20, the average school lunch price among 39 area districts was $1.70 at the elementary level and $2 at the middle and high school levels.
This is the first time in three years that the Somerset School District has raised its lunch prices. The move became necessary, according to District business manager Bob Avery, because the District was losing money with meals at the current rate.
The School District started the school year with a new food service vendor. Avery said that after reviewing invoices from the first two months of the school year, he saw the District was losing money. The District pays the vendor on a fixed rate per meal.
“We were losing almost 16 cents per meal,” Avery said.
Avery said the 20 cent increase will help the District break even for the rest of the year, but won’t recoup money that has been lost in the first half of the school year.
“We want the food service program to be self-sufficient,” Avery said. He said the goal is to have the food service program build up a slight reserve, so if there is a major equipment failure, the food service funds cover that cost.
Avery said there was a great deal of discussion last summer about changing the meal prices, because food services were implementing fuel surcharges to cover delivery costs.
Avery said these meal increases have nothing to do with the negative account balances that were found at the end of the 2007-08 school year. He said there were significant collections on those negative accounts in September and early October, but those collections have slowed since then.