Federal law again increases VISD lunch prices

April 17, 2012 at 7:03 p.m.
Updated April 16, 2012 at 11:17 p.m.

The price of school lunches will increase 10 cents again this year, thanks to a 2010 federal mandate.

The Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act requires the price paid for school meals be equal to the federal reimbursement rate for free meals. The Victoria school district must increase its lunch rates in 10-cent increments until the district reaches the federal reimbursement rate.

The Victoria school board approved a 10-cent increase last year and is expected to approve another increase at its regular meeting Thursday. Lunches in elementary schools next year will cost $1.95, while middle and high school lunches will cost $2.35. Charges for breakfast will not change.

After this year's increase, secondary school lunch prices will be about 16 cents below the federal reimbursement rate. Elementary charges will be 56 cents below that rate.

"Expect another 10 cents next year unless legislation changes," Diane Boyett, district communications director, said.

The 2010 mandate was prompted after the Department of Agriculture found average prices for paid lunches are often less than the cost of producing those lunches. The federal program is intended to ensure federal subsidies are used for lower-income children instead of being put toward covering any of the gaps between what students pay for lunch and the cost of producing those lunches.

About 65 percent of students in VISD are qualified for free or reduced lunch in 2011.

Also on Thursday's agenda is a resolution that would indicate to the Texas Legislature that VISD stands behind a re-examination of the state's accountability system. The resolution came from the Texas Association of School Boards and has about 300 districts behind it, Boyett said.

"What occurs in our classrooms every day should be student-centered and result in students learning at a deep and meaningful level, as opposed to the superficial level of learning that results from the current over-emphasis on that which can be easily tested by standardized tests," reads part of the resolution.

If adopted, the resolution would serve to bring more public awareness to the issue of standardized testing, Boyett said.



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