School board OKs rate increase for paid meals

From the left, Ada City Schools executive director of personnel and operations Bryan Harwell takes notes while Superintendent Mike Anderson speaks during Monday’s Ada Board of Education meeting. The board voted to raise the price of paid breakfasts and lunches by 5 cents for breakfasts and 10 cents for lunches. The rate increase does not apply to free and reduced-price meals.

Ada City Schools students who don’t receive free or reduced-price lunches will pay a little more for school-provided breakfasts and lunches this year.

The Ada Board of Education voted 5-0 Monday to raise the prices for paid breakfasts and lunches by 5 cents per breakfast and 10 cents per lunch. The new rates do not apply to free and reduced-price meals.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires schools to charge students for paid meals at prices that equal the difference between the reimbursement rates for free lunches and paid lunches, or cover the difference through non-federal funds. School districts that are charging lower rates and not subsidizing their food service must raise the rates for paid student lunches by at least 10 cents per year.

Each year, school districts must use a USDA worksheet to determine their target price for school lunches and adjust their paid meal prices accordingly, said Superintendent Mike Anderson.

“This is not free and reduced-lunch prices,” he said. “This is for the paid customers, those that don’t qualify for free and reduced. And that tool suggested an increase of 5 cents for breakfast and 10 cents for lunch.”

He said the prices are based on raising the prices that were in effect for the 2018-19 school year by 2%, plus the Consumer Price Index of 2.68%. This year’s calculations resulted in a recommended price increase of 5 cents per paid breakfast and 10 cents per paid lunch, for a new price of $1.95 per breakfast and $3 per lunch.

In other business, the school board voted to continue using the current academic calendar to calculate instructional and professional time for the 2019-20 school year. The calendar is based on the standard of 1,080 hours instead of 180 school days.

“Under our current schedule, we exceed 1,080 hours of instructional and professional time at each school site,” Anderson said. “The additional hours provide an allowance for inclement weather days if they become necessary.”

He said the action did not affect the makeup of the 2019-20 academic calendar, which was approved earlier this year.

Eric Swanson is the City Hall and general assignment reporter for The Ada News. He spent 15 years working at the Dodge City Daily Globe in Dodge City, Kansas, before joining The Ada News’ staff in 2012.