When students return from summer break, school lunch will cost a quarter more.
To meet a recent federal requirement, the Dawson County Board of Education voted May 9 to increase all lunch prices by 25 cents.
The U.S. government currently reimburses systems $2.72 for a free lunch and 26 cents for a paid lunch.
Linda Byrd, the local district’s school nutrition director, said the government is asking systems like Dawson to “close the gap” between what students pay and the reimbursement.
Beginning in August, school lunch prices will be $2.25 at elementary schools and $2.50 at the middle and high schools.
Superintendent Keith Porter acknowledged the timing is not ideal.
“We know this is one of the worst times there could be to have to raise lunch prices,” he said.
“This is not something we want to do, it’s something we have to do.”
Byrd said she’s “discussed it with principals and school leaders ... I think we should go up a quarter and close the gap.”
She added that if the system did not increase school lunch prices, the federal government “may require us to close the gap through local funds rather than school nutrition funds.”
She said the system would be required to “turn in meal prices and show that we have increased meal prices.”
Breakfast costs will not be affected, she added.