DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

June 20, 2012

Derry school officials weigh lunch price hike

By Julie Huss
jhuss@derrynews.com

DERRY — Derry schools may increase their prices for hot meals.

District business administrator Jane Simard told School Board members that due to federal guidelines put in place, the prices may have to go up.

Derry's lunch this year was $2.35 for middle school and $2.15 for elementary students.

Changes came to the district's school lunches with the enactment of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. Those changes included specific standards required for school lunches to meet federal nutrition guidelines.

The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act came about as a way to help enhance food quality in schools, give children better choices and help curb childhood obesity.

Simard said Derry's schools have complied, making some changes in the school lunch program, including a potential price hike and meal content.

Milk quality is a part of the program. Schools are required to serve only 1 percent or fat-free white milk, 0.5 percent chocolate milk and fat-free strawberry milk.

Schools also added more fresh fruits, vegetables, cut back on starchy items and sodium, and studied portion size.

For each complete meal the district serves that meets the USDA nutrition requirements, Simard said, Derry is reimbursed by the federal government.

School districts must gradually increase the price of meals in order to reach the new federal reimbursement rate for free and reduced lunches.

Simard said there is a formula to follow.

"Other districts are reviewing (their prices) and increasing," Simard said. "Derry is right in line where some other districts are."

Costs may also increase next year for insurance and food, she said.

Updates on food costs and other meal information will be posted on the district's website soon.

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