School lunch prices likely to increase

The cost of lunch may be increasing for St. Marys Area School District students. SMASD Superintendent Ann Kearney explained the proposal during a recent school board meeting, stating that elementary lunches could increase five cents, from $1.45 to $1.50, and middle and high school lunches may increase by 25 cents, from $1.50 to $1.75In addition, the cost of a la carte lunch would increase 25 cents, from $1.55 to $1.80.The cost of reduced lunches would remain the same at 40 cents, as well as the cost of reduced breakfasts at 30 cents, 60 cents for elementary breakfasts and 80 cents for middle and high school breakfasts.A federal bill, entitled, "Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act," passed on Dec. 13, 2010. The bill will provide resources to school districts in order to improve the quality and nutritional value of meals served to students. It also requires the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to strengthen nutrition standards for foods sold in vending machines, a la carte lines and school stores, as well as requiring the USDA to implement standards based on current nutrition science.As part of the new law, school districts must gradually increase their cost of lunches in order to match the federal free reimbursement level of at least $2 per meal. Additionally, Kearney added that the district's Crossroads program is moving to Elk Regional Health Center on July 1. The Crossroads students will gather in the old portion of the building inside the former dialysis unit. Renovations are to have recently begun. The new facility can house 20 clients.Crossroads serves seven area school districts. The St. Marys program was formerly located in trailers situated behind the high school.Kearney said the trailers are possibly a good location for an alternative education program for expelled students.