School lunches in Gahanna-Jefferson schools will cost another nickel come August.

School lunches in Gahanna-Jefferson schools will cost another nickel come August.

The school board on May 8 approved an increase for student meal prices.

Effective with the 2014-15 school year, an elementary school lunch will cost $2.55, and a lunch at the middle schools and high school will be $2.80.

A breakfast meal will increase by a dime, from $1.25 to $1.35.

Linda Green, food-services supervisor, said the cost of a school lunch hasn't increased since 2009-10. The price of a breakfast was last increased from $1 to $1.25 in 2007-08, she said.

Green said food prices are on the rise within the district because of federal requirements.

During the 2014-15 school year, she said, schools must offer one full cup of fruit, juice or vegetable or combination rather than half a cup with each breakfast.

Plate lunches must include vegetables from each vegetable subgroup, and healthy dark green veggies, red and orange, and beans/legumes are more costly than the starchy and other subgroups.

She said grain items sold at breakfast and lunch must be whole-grain rich; pasta, bread, cereals, snacks, etc., are more costly than the white flour items.

Green said the increase also meets the USDA Price Lunch Equity requirements.

She said the USDA is requiring school districts' meal pricing to be at least the difference between the free and paid reimbursement rate ($2.65) to be compliant.

"Our weighted average price is $2.61," Green said. "We will be in compliance by raising the lunch 5 cents each next year."

During a May 1 board workshop, board member Lew Griffin said the study of school lunch prices helped him with examining the lunch-service department's finances.

"I know they have equipment needs," he said. "I know we run profitably."

Board president Jill Schuler said it's unusual to be out of deficit spending when it comes to food services within a school district.