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Valley Students Will Pay A Quarter More For School Lunches

By David Howell


    The rising price of fuel and food prompted Water Valley school officials to raise the price for school meals beginning in August for the new school year. The decision, made Monday, May 5, at a regularly scheduled school board meeting marks the first increase in seven years.

    Water Valley School District Food Director Tonya Smith recommended a quarter increase, after she explained that the Mississippi Department of Education has sent numerous memos noting the cost of food, paper, dry goods and chemicals will likely continue to rise.

    The increase means students will pay a quarter more for their breakfasts and lunches in the 2008-2009 school year. The price of breakfast will be a buck and lunch will be $1.50. Other increases approved by the board include the price of a teacher’s lunch, which went from $2.50 to $3.00, and a teacher’s breakfast, which went from $1 to $1.50.

    The cost of a lunch plate costs the district around $1.95, Smith also reported. The cost of an extra milk will remain at a quarter.

    “It has been about seven years since we have had an increase,” Smith told the board. Reduced lunches will remain at 40 cents, an amount that is set by the United States Department of Agriculture, according to Smith.

    “I don’t think $1.75 (lunch price) would be out of line,” board member Cayce Washington said during discussion about the increase. His comment came after Smith also reported that the serving line in the cafeteria at Davidson Elementary School was obsolete. Smith explained that that a serving line from the high school will be moved to the elementary school for the summer feeding program.

    Washington said the extra money could be used for purchase a new feeding line.

    “Everybody is not satisfied with the quantity or quality of food in our cafeteria,” Board President Ray Hawkins answered, adding that a minimal increase would be the best.

    Board members voted 4 – 0 in favor of the quarter increase, with Taylor Trusty absent. Hawkins said Trusty was “under the weather.”

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