With all of the recent press about the changes to school lunch programs in the news, Emmetsburg faces a different issue prices are too low.
The student lunches at Emmetsburg Schools was a topic of discussion at the October School Board meeting on Oct. 22.
Food Service Director Deb Goeders has stated to Superintendent John Joynt that the school will not be able to apply for Federal lunch reimbursements with prices as they are currently set.
Federal reimbursement is very important to the Emmetsburg School District as it provides the school with over $280,000 per year in funding. The Federal Free Lunch program provides 44.7% of Emmetsburg students with free lunches this school year. These numbers for the 2012-2013 school year are an increase from 33% in the 2007-2008 school year.
"We are just above the state average," said Superintendent Joynt. "It's been jumping each year."
West Elementary has the highest percentage of students receiving free or reduced priced meals. "If the percentage continues and our older kids graduate and these younger kids move up we'll be moving up in percentage," said School Board Member Tammy Naig pointed out. Superintendent Joynt agreed and advised this was why the funding is so necessary.
The Department of Education has created a formula to set pricing for student lunches. Currently lunch costs $2.10 for students and the school receives $2.86 for reimbursements under the Federal Free Lunch program. The difference is too much to comply with regulations set by the Federal government. The formula indicates that a ten-cent increase, making each student lunch cost $2.20 will put the school back in compliance. Adult lunches will be $3.
The Emmetsburg School Board approved the new school lunch amount of $2.20 after a short discussion. It was decided that the Federal Free Lunch program reimbursements are necessary for the school lunch program and the school.
The new prices will most likely take effect at the beginning of the second semester after the school has time to notify families of the change. The change in price will not change the requirements for lunch assistance program eligibility.