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School Lunch Prices

September 2, 2004, 4:45 PM by DeeAnn Tiede

School Lunch Prices

Though some children will always prefer to "brown-bag-it," it's hard to beat the well-balanced meals provided in the school cafeteria. But, some schools across the nation are hiking the price of breakfast and lunch by as much as a dollar. And some parents in KELOLAND may also be digging deeper into their pockets to pay for the same lunch their child ate last year.

To feed the body is to feed the mind and thousands of hot lunches are served to hungry students every school day. But healthier choices and higher transportation costs are pushing the prices up.

Joni Davis with the Sioux Falls School District said, "We certainly have the overall increased cost of foods in general. Milk prices being one of those, although it has leveled off now. Transportation costs with the gas concerns."

Fruits and vegetables have always been a mainstay as school dieticians strive to help kids climb the food pyramid. But, rising childhood obesity rate require them to do more.

Joni Davis says, "We're striving to purchase more nutritious, our meals have always been nutritious, but those whole grain items: whole wheat breads, multi-grain breads, and products such as that that are going to be beneficial to all of us. There's a higher cost affixed to that as you know."

Prices are up a dime in Sioux Falls, with elementary students paying a $1.50. Middle and high school students paying a $1.70. Prices won't go up for the almost 17 million children who come from the nation's lowest income families.

Joni Davis says, "The reduced price program that families participate in does have a federally mandated level so that level has not changed. It will still be 40 cents for lunch and 30 cents for breakfast."

Full price or reduced price, Davis says it's still the best deal in town for a well-balanced meal. Lunch prices vary quite a bit across the state. Watertown elementary students pay a $1.25; middle and high school students pay a $1.50. Aberdeen elementary students pay $2 a meal; high schoolers pay $2.20.

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