Franklin Regional to hike lunch prices
Lunch prices likely will rise for Franklin Regional students this fall.
District officials recommended a 10-cent increase to lunch prices for the 2014-15 school year. That would raise lunch costs to $2.15 for elementary students and $2.45 for middle and high school students. Breakfast prices will remain at $1.15 and $1.25 for elementary and secondary, respectively.
The school board is expected to vote on the hike Monday.
“Our goal is to try and keep our lunch prices as close to the reimbursable rate as possible,” said Mary Catherine Reljac, assistant superintendent for the district. “We're trying to close the gap between the cost of the meal and what we are reimbursed for.”
Like others across the nation, the district and its food-service provider, Metz and Associates, are dealing with changes to the National School Lunch Program. That program, administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reimburses districts between 28 cents and $2.98 for each lunch served, based on student economic need, if the district meets criteria through the federal Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.
Any food sold in schools must meet the following criteria: be a “whole grain-rich” grain product; have, as the first ingredient, a fruit, vegetable, dairy product or protein; be a combination food that contains at least one quarter of a cup of fruits or vegetables; or contain 10 percent of the daily value of one of calcium, potassium, vitamin D or dietary fiber.
This school year, districts also are required to lower the amount of sodium in a la carte items. Reljac said there have been challenges in meeting some of the requirements.
“One of the biggest challenges is that the suppliers of the food products have not yet adjusted the products available,” she said. “It's challenging to meet the requirements.”
Those requirements are so challenging that South Fayette School District last month opted out of the National School Lunch Program and no longer will receive reimbursements. Officials there said they no longer could offer students a full range of food options and still meet federal guidelines.
At Franklin Regional, students who are eligible for reduced lunch prices receive lunch for free, thanks to a donation program called Fund-A-Meal. Community members and the teachers union make monthly donations to the fund, which benefits 2 percent of Franklin Regional students. An additional 12 percent receive free lunches under the federal program. Statewide, 38 percent of students are eligible for free lunches and 6 percent of students are eligible for reduced lunch prices.
Daily lunch participation rates weren't available for the 2013-14 school year. School resumes on Aug. 25.
Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-871-2365, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.