Boise Schools Raise Lunch Prices; Others Soon To Follow

May 19, 2012

Students in Boise schools will pay more for lunch this fall. And lunch prices in other districts are likely to go up as well.

Peggy Bodnar says the Boise School District has tried hard to keep from raising the lunch price. But the district’s Food Service Supervisor says now they have to. She explains, “there were numerous changes that came about with that Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.”

Congress passed that law in 2010. One of its changes is new nutrition guidelines for school lunches. Bodnar says those are good; requiring more fruits and vegetables for example, but healthier food is often more expensive. Bodnar says the new law requires increases to the cost of full price meals to make up for more expensive food. She says this could create hardships for families that don’t quite qualify for free or reduced lunch.

“Those people who have debated whether or not to turn in a free and reduced price meal application may be faced with saying I think I’ll turn one in.”

Starting with the new school year, junior high lunches will go up 10 cents to $2.60. Elementary lunches will go up 15 cents to $2.10. That means the parents of a fourth grader who eats at school every day will have to pay about $30 more next year. And Bodnar says the Boise School district will likely have to raise meal prices again the year after that.  The Meridian School District hasn’t raised its meal prices for the fall and its Food Service Supervisor says there are no plans to now. But she adds, as she understands the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, every school in the country will have to soon.