By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer
FORT GIBSON — Students and staff members at Fort Gibson Public Schools can expect to pay 25 cents more for each school meal this year.
The Fort Gibson Board of Education approved the school lunch price increase Monday at its regular meeting. New prices are:
• Breakfast: Elementary from $1 to $1.25; Secondary from $1.25 to $1.50; Staff from $1.50 to $1.75.
• Lunch: Elementary from $1.75 to $2; Secondary from $2 to $2.25; Staff from $3 to $3.25.
Federal child nutrition guidelines prompted the price increase, Superintendent Derald Glover said. Glover said schools across the United States are to raise their lunch and breakfast prices each year until they match the rate they’re reimbursed for free meals.
The district had raised meal prices by 25 cents two years ago for the same reason, he said.
“I’d rather do the 25 cent increase every other year than increase prices every year,” Glover said.
Students on free or reduced lunch will not be affected by the price increase.
Glover said about half of the district’s 1,860 students are on free or reduced lunch.
“We served about 70,000 full-paid meals last year,” Glover said. “Raising it by 25 cents would bring in $17,000.”
Board Vice President Larry Sand said the price increase could cover rising food costs.
Glover said new federal child nutrition regulations are reducing meat serving sizes and increasing vegetable servings.
“It is not a popular time to raise prices,” Glover said.
He said a chef from Union Public Schools will work with Fort Gibson child nutrition workers to improve the quality and taste of school meals. He said the chef will spend about two weeks with the staff before the start of the school year. Cost will be $5,000.
Other schools also are raising prices to meet federal guidelines.
In June, the Muskogee Board of Education agreed to raise meal prices from $1.60 to $1.90 at the Early Childhood Center and from $1.90 to $2 at its 10 elementary schools. Muskogee students qualifying for free and reduced lunches would continue to have free and reduced lunches.
Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.