YORK — For the third year in a row, the York school district has approved a 10-cent increase in the price of a school lunch, saying the hike is necessary due to federal legislation.
The York school board last week approved a 10-cent hike in school lunch prices — to a new price of $1.95 at elementary schools and $2.05 at middle and high schools. It also approved a 5-cent hike for school breakfast, bring the price to $1.
The board also approved similar price hikes in the spring of 2011 and 2012.
“Historically, we have tried to keep our meal prices down,” Assistant Superintendent Matt Brown told the school board. “We thought that was important. But over the past couple of years, this legislation has forced our hand.”
The price increases, he said, have been in response to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Act of 2010.
Brown said the legislation requires that the money the federal government provides for free meals is in line with what the school is charging for a paid lunch. School districts have several years to bring their lunch fees up to the cost of a free meal, he said.
He said under the legislation, school districts that charged on average less than $2.59 for paid school lunches are required to adjust their average price of provide other funding to cover the difference. The average price for a school lunch in York is $1.90 this year.
Brown said law doesn’t require schools to raise the cost of a lunch more than 10 cents each year.
Brown has noted that it will take several years of lunch price increases for the York school district to reach the rates required by law.
“If they keep pushing it like it is, you’re going to see this for the next couple years,” Brown said about the price increases. “I don’t see any let up on the federal government right now.”
He said the federal legislation doesn’t give school districts a target date for having their average lunch prices at the desired federal level.