The Price for School Lunch Is Likely Going Up - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

The Price for School Lunch Is Likely Going Up

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Beef prices are the highest they've been in nearly three decades and add on top of that the price of pork and chicken, and your lunch just got more expensive. Sure meat prices are a factor, but not the main reason why the West Fargo school district is looking to increase the cost of school lunches next year. Valley News team's Eric Crest finds out how much and why.

It's just about lunch time at South Elementary in West Fargo. That means pizza with all the additional options too. But parents should expect the price for this meal and breakfast across the district, to be going up in the near future.

"In 2010 the rewrite for the Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act came out and as part of that the federal government is asking for school districts to gradually increase what they charge for school meals," explains West Fargo Public School Districts Communication Relations Coordinator Heather Konschak.

So are parents going to have to tighten their belt as their kids loosen theirs? Well, kind of. But it's not going to break the bank today.

"We're talking about 5 cents for breakfast and 10 cents for lunches," says Konschak.

But over time a lunch could jump from $1.90 which is where it's at today to $2.65.

"But instead of making that leap in one year and hitting our parents and families hard. We're trying to do that incrementally with that five cent ten cent increase every year," says Konschak.

It's not just about keeping up with federal guidelines according to Konschak, because the cost for protein is costing schools more as well.

"It's been increasing steadily since this past fall. Now they've hit a peak of a lot of that different protein sources," explains Theresa Jeske the assistant manager at the NDSU Meat Lab.

"We want to make sure that it's healthy and nutritious and keeps our kids satisfied during the day. So as the costs increase for the regular consumer there's increases for the district," adds Konschak.

Not to mention all the other variables like shipping and the cost of labor in school cafeterias that is also increasing. Getting lunch for $1.90 today could soon be a thing of the past.

"You will pay for that difference at the grocery store. It's costing farmers more and so it has to be made up," says Jeske.

On Monday, the West Fargo school board will discuss whether to increase the cost of school lunches. Whether it's approved Monday or at a later date, school officials say parents should anticipate about a dollar hike in the cost of a lunch over the next several years.
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