New Albany News

School district could increase meal prices


New Albany-Plain Local Schools officials will consider increasing the district's breakfast and lunch prices, in part to add more food choices to school menus.

Michael Sawyers, the district's chief of operations and strategic development, told the school board June 24 the food-services department wants to increase the price of breakfast for elementary and middle school students from $1 to $1.25.

Lunch prices would increase from $2.35 to $2.50 in the elementary schools and from $2.60 to $2.75 in the middle and high schools, he said.

Sawyers said the changes would help the district increase the choices available by adding more fruits and vegetables and defray rising food costs.

Other districts charge similar prices, he said.

He told board members he gathered data from 12 school districts, including Dublin, Columbus, Gahanna, Granville, Hilliard, Pataskala, Pickerington, Powell, Westerville and Worthington.

The average breakfast price in those districts is $1.30 and the average lunch price is $2.51 for elementary schools, $2.69 for middle schools and $2.76 for high schools, Sawyers said.

Sawyers said New Albany-Plain Local has not raised lunch prices in two years.

The school board is expected to discuss the price increase and any other changes at its July 8 work session.

Sawyers said the middle and high school kitchens prepare the same food items but this school year, both would like to prepare different foods.

District officials also want to provide a portable breakfast that could be served through 9:30 a.m. and eaten in the classroom, Sawyers said.

Sawyers said many elementary students do not have time to eat breakfast in the cafeteria. He said if they could take a prepackaged meal to class, they could eat during the morning announcements.

Sawyers said the prepackaged breakfast menu would be controlled to avoid food allergy issues and to offer options for students with celiac disease, who must avoid the protein gluten.

Although the district offers breakfast to all grades, only 5 percent of all students eat breakfast at school, said Jennifer Denny, the elementary head of schools.

Sawyers said district officials must ensure parents know the breakfast option is available.