Wapakoneta school meal prices rise

The Wapakoneta City Schools Board of Education approved changes to the district’s lunch prices for the 2014-15 school year by a vote of 3-0 during a regular board meeting Tuesday evening.

The changes, which were proposed by WCS Food Service Supervisor Lori McKean, include a 10 cent increase for student lunches, a 30 cent decrease for those who qualify for reduced breakfast and a 25 cent increase for adult lunches.

Lunch prices will increase to $2.55 at the elementary school, $2.65 at the middle school and $2.75 at the high school.

The cost of breakfast will remain the same at $1.20 for elementary school students, $1.45 for middle school students and $1.55 for high school students.

McKean said the proposed increases are mandated by the federal government and are determined by the paid lunch equity calculator, which calculates a weighted average based on price and number of lunches sold. For WCS, the weighted average price went from $2.55 to $2.65, causing a 10-cent increase in lunch prices across the district.

“Every year this number increases,” McKean said. “They want your meals to average that weighted price. The government feels by doing this, you’re not compensating paid lunches with your reimbursements.”

Also beginning next school year, students who qualify for a reduced-price breakfast will now be able to eat for free instead of paying 30 cents.

McKean said this would reduce revenue by about $2,500, but this money could be made back through reimbursement if 200 more kids eat breakfast per month.

“We receive $1.61 in reimbursement for every reduced breakfast,” she said. “We need 200 more kids a month in all our buildings combined to eat breakfast to be able to recoup that. By switching to free, we should pick up those numbers.”

For adult lunches, the $3 cost that has been in place for the past several years will increase to $3.25. McKean said it was time for an increase as food costs have gone up.

WCS Treasurer Angie Sparks calculated that McKean brought in approximately $23,000 in revenue compared to expenses last school year, excluding May and June’s reimbursement check of $93,000 which hasn’t come in yet.

Board member Willie Sammetinger pointed out that, while many schools fail to break even on school meals, McKean has been able to show a profit for the district. McKean said she was able to do this mainly through keeping labor cost low and foot cost controlled.

Board President Pat Gibson applauded McKean for her efforts.

“And to do all this at the cost we’re charging students — you can’t go anywhere else and eat for that amount of money and get the nutritional value you’re required to deliver,” he said. “Excellent job.”

McKean said she was also able to purchase new cafeteria equipment for next year, including a double-stacked convection oven at $9,000 and two combi-ovens at $22,000 a piece. She informed the board that there will also be new serving lines at the middle school next year.

For the full story, see the Wednesday, June 25 edition of the Wapakoneta Daily News.