New Stephens Co. School Meal Prices Approved

Some meal prices will head up in the Stephens County school system next school year.

The Board of Education unanimously approved new meal prices on Tuesday.

Stephens County School System Nutrition Director Kim Caudell said that there will be no changes for elementary and middle school students in Stephens County with meal prices.

“The elementary schools and the middle school will continue the CEP program so breakfast and lunch at elementary and middle school will still be at no cost to all students,” said Caudell.

That CEP, or Community Eligibility Program, is a federal program that provides for the meals at no cost to students.

Moving to the high school, students will pay $1 for breakfast this coming year instead of receiving a free breakfast as has been the case.

Caudell said the school system just cannot afford to offer free high school breakfast.

“We do not receive any kind of grant or subsidized funding for that,” said Caudell.

According to Caudell, the school system could receive around $19,500 in extra revenue by charging $1 for breakfast at the high school.

Meanwhile, the cost of a student lunch at the high school is going up from $1.75 to $2 next school year.

Elsewhere, the price of a breakfast for a teacher or staff member is going from $1.50 to $1.75 and for lunch, teachers and staff will pay $2.75 instead of $2.50 next school year.

The cost of a visitor breakfast will remain at $2, while lunch for a visitor will now cost $3.25 instead of $3.

According to Caudell, food costs are a main reason for the increase in price.

“We have had some changes to our meal pattern this year and we have to serve more whole grain items, as well as fruits and vegetables, which is more cost for us,” she explained.

She went on to say that Stephens County’s prices seem to fall in line with other counties nearby.

“Most of the schools are right at that $2 target,” said Caudell. “Some of the schools are still doing no charge (for breakfast) up to the $1.75 range.”

She said the schools not charging for breakfast are losing money on that.

Also on Tuesday, the Stephens County Board of Education approved the awarding of bids for its food and supplies vendors for school nutrition for the upcoming school year.