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USD 418 Board Considering Recommendation for 30 Cent Increase in School Meals

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By Lucky Kidd

 

McPHERSON, Kan. — The McPherson USD 418 Board of Education Monday will consider a recommendation for a 30 cent across the board increase in school breakfast and lunch prices which are already among the highest in the region for comparable districts.

Director of Operations Bill Froese said in a memorandum to the board the rate increase was determined in part through use of a Paid Lunch Equity tool provided by the Kansas State Department of Education. Use of this tool combined with current budget status and projected food prices led to the 30 cent per meal increase recommendation.

Under the proposal, the cost of school lunch for elementary students would increase to $3.80, for middle school students to $3.90 and for high school students to $4. Student Breakfast prices would go up to $2.95 for all students. Froese said the increase would generate approximately $70,000 in additional revenue for the food service program.

Over the past 20 years or so the cost of school lunches in USD 418 has nearly doubled, and for breakfast have more than doubled. Since the 2020-21 school year the cost for meals has increased by 55 cents. Students were not charged for meals in the 2021-22 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a 35 cent a meal increase in the 2022-23 school year and a 20 cent per meal increase for the 2023-24 school year. The district’s price history going back to the 2023-24 school year can be found as part of the agenda packet accessible online on the district’s website, www.mcpherson.com.

When Hutchinson USD 308’s Board of Education set school breakfast and lunch prices for the 2024-25 school year at their May 20th meeting, a chart was provided to their board that looked at school meal prices for the 2023-24 school year in ten districts, USD 418 among them. Districts included in that study included in addition to Hutchinson and McPherson were the Buhler, Derby, Emporia, Goddard, Haysville, Newton, Nickerson-South Hutchinson and Salina school districts. USD 418 had the highest breakfast and lunch charges of any of the ten districts, followed by Salina, Emporia, Newton and Buhler.