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|School board approves increases in meal prices|
Breakfast and lunch meal prices for parish school students will go up slightly following action by the Ouachita Parish School Board.
The school board agreed earlier this week to raise student meal prices 25 cents for breakfast and 50 cents for lunch.
School system employees will see their breakfast meal prices raised by 25 cents, and their lunch prices raise by $1.
The school board first entertained increasing meal prices at cafeterias in parish schools several weeks ago.
Breakfast prices were last raised during the 2003-2004 school year. Lunch meal prices have not been raised since the 1991-1992 school year.
JoLynne Correro, food services director for the parish school system, told the school board that over the past five years, the school system's child nutrition services have seen a gradual decrease in its fund balance.
"Numerous attempts have been made to trim expenditures -- reduction in staff to bare minimum, reduction in number of food choices offered at meals (which the board later asked to be reinstated) and monitoring of expenditures," Correro said.
"I don't want to raise them any higher than this, but we are still going to have to cut something," she said. "I'm not going to cut quality, we will still maintain our quality. We're just going to have to scrutinize every menu. As school starts out and we get our pricing, we'll be watching everything we do."
According to a Food Research and Action Council report, in 2007 the price of milk increased 17 percent, rice and pasta increased by 13 percent, cheese increased by 15 percent and bread increased by 12 percent.
Correro expects the cost of those staple items to increase again next year. She said the increases in meal prices are needed for the child nutrition program to reduce its deficit and become self-supporting.
According to Correro, the cost to produce a breakfast meal this past school year was $1.44. The cost to produce one lunch meal was $2.88.
The increases for meals at cafeterias in the parish school system would generate some $2.1 million annually, including an additional $635,127 in new revenue.
The measure passed with A.R. "Red" Sims the only school board member voting against it.