School lunches to cost more

Both Mount Airy and Surry County school systems recently announced they would be raising school lunch prices to comply with USDA standards.

Both systems will add a dime to the cost of their meals, the lowest possible increase they could impose under the guidelines, according to school officials.

Mount Airy City Schools will be charging $2.50 for k-5 lunched and $2.75 for grades 6-12. Surry County will charge The $2.30 for k-5 lunch and $2.50 for grades 6-12. The prices are based on federal guidelines set in place as part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids act passed in 2010 and taking effect in 2014.

School Program regulations require school food authorities participating in the National School Lunch Program to ensure sufficient funds are provided to the nonprofit school food service account for meals served to students not eligible for free or reduced price meals, according to school officials.

There are two ways to meet this requirement: either through the prices charged for paid meals or through other non-Federal sources provided to the nonprofit school food service account. This rule is called the Paid Lunch Equity Requirement.

Any school system charging less than minimum price average of $2.70 is required to either gradually increase prices until the average is reached or provide additional non-federal support for lunches.

Both city and county schools chose to raise prices over time.

The increase in meal prices can be no less than 10 cents per year. However, each price increase is left to each individual school system. The schools are reimbursed the cost to cover food, supplies and labor, through the national paid lunch program.

Surry County schools have a $7 million budget for all food, supplies and labor for 19 facilities and around 8,500 students.

Mount Airy officials have not yet finalized its budget for the upcoming school year.

Eva Queen can be reached at (336) 415-4739 or

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