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School lunch costs rise

Higher fuel, food prices drive up daily price by 25 cents

Posted: July 18, 2008 11:57 p.m.
Updated: September 19, 2008 5:04 a.m.
 

Rising fuel and food prices are affecting everyone these days — even elementary school kids will feel the crunch as they fork over another quarter each day for their school lunch this fall.

“We tried keeping it as low as we possibly could,” said Jane Crawford, director of the Santa Clarita Valley School Food Services Agency. “We offer a lot of high quality Afoods to our students and we want to continue to do that — unfortunately it comes with a price increase.”

The cost of lunch will increase 25 cents to $2.75 when students return to school. The cost of breakfast will remain the same at $1.50, and the cost of a reduced lunch will still be 40 cents for those who qualify. The SCV School Food Services Agency serves local elementary schools and Castaic Middle School.

“Everything has basically increased because of food costs and gas costs, so it all just gets passed on,” Crawford said.

The price of whole wheat has increased 22.2 percent, white flour has increased 94.1 percent and even the price of the utensil packets that come with each lunch has increased 6.4 percent, Crawford said.

“What we are trying to do is to make sure we continue to provide the quality foods we have provided in the past.” Crawford said. The agency uses commodities — foods provided by the United States Department of Agriculture — whenever possible.

“We try to utilize whatever they send us — we adjust our menus to accommodate those foods,” Crawford said. “That way we’re helping out the farmers, and they’re helping us out.”

The price of a tray lunch at schools in the William S. Hart Union High School District will remain the same at $2.75, but the price of a la carte items will increase.

“Most of the a la carte items are going up a little bit, by a quarter or a dime or so, just because of the extra cost in procuring those goods,” said Sue Guthrie, chief financial officer for the Hart district.

The price of one-third quart of milk will go up 10 cents to 60 cents at the Hart district. The price of a reduced lunch will remain 40 cents at the Hart district for those who qualify.

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