District 26 to increase lunch prices by a dime

CARY – Lunch prices next year in District 26 are set to increase.

In order to comply with regulations of the National School Lunch Program, the district has to raise lunch prices to $2.60, up from $2.50.

School districts have to gradually increase the prices per meal, so they are equal to the difference between what the district is reimbursed for a free lunch, and what it is reimbursed for a paid lunch.

The difference is $2.65, but increases are capped at 10 cents.

The district plans to increase lunch prices by an additional nickel for the 2015-16 school year, said Director of Finance and Operations Jeffrey Schubert.

Schubert added there might have to be an increase again if free and reduced lunch applications increase.

District 26 also plans to switch food providers.

Organic Life will replace Arbor Management, Inc. The district estimates it will pay Organic Life $375,672 next year for food service.

Arbor put in a bid of $443,361 for next school year. In the 2013 fiscal year, the district paid Arbor $430,320. So far this school year, the district has paid Arbor $389,985 for food service.

Schubert said he does not expect service levels to change with the new vendor.

“Talking to other ... school districts that Arbor had, I think they got comfortable,” Schubert said. “Organic Life is an up and coming vendor, got over aggressive with their pricing and shocked Arbor.”

There will be fresh fruits and vegetables and fresher meats with the new vendor, Schubert said.

“There are benefits, ... and it’s cheaper than what we’re currently paying,” Schubert said.

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