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Federal requirements prompt higher school lunch prices

Get ready to pay more in the cafeteria. The Red Wing School Board voted Monday night to raise the price of school lunches for the 2011-12 school year.

The increases are due to requirements from the United States Department of Agriculture, following the Healthy and Hunger-Free Act of 2010.

Elementary lunches will increase by a dime and middle and high school lunches will go up a nickel. Prices for free and reduced lunches and all breakfasts will remain the same.

The USDA requirements are part of an effort to bring the amount of money that schools are reimbursed for each free and reduced lunch closer to what students are paying for full-price lunches.

Schools charging between $1.60 and $2.45 are to increase lunch prices by 5 cents for the 2011-12 school year.

Red Wing currently charges $2.20 at the elementary school, $2.30 at the middle school and $2.45 at the high school.

Federal requirements coming next year for elementary through eighth-grade lunches will call for larger fruit and vegetable portions, which is why the board voted for a larger increase in elementary lunch prices.

Requirements outlining the minimum price schools can charge for lunches are "rare," business manager Brad Johnson said.

"This federal legislation is deeper than we've seen recently," he said.

Johnson said school lunch prices typically change every other year. Last year, lunch prices were left the same.

Sarah Gorvin
Sarah Gorvin has been with the Republican Eagle for two years and covers education, business and crime and courts. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2010 with a  journalism degree.