• July 26, 2014

Area districts face rising food costs

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Posted: Sunday, April 11, 2010 12:00 pm | Updated: 9:12 am, Thu Aug 16, 2012.

By Jackie Stone

Killeen Daily Herald

While the Lampasas school board decided this week to raise lunch prices for the first time in several years due to rising food costs, other area districts are not yet moving in that direction - though some have seen the increases.

Lampasas Independent School District school board members on Monday voted to increase all school breakfast and lunch meal prices by 25 cents across the board. The increase will generate an estimated $48,000 for food services, LISD Business Manager Shane Jones said Monday.

Officials said the district's food services department has been running over budget the past two years, largely because of inflation that increased food prices and delivery costs.

"We have had these prices for the last five years and, due to inflationary increases in the cost of food and the fuel to deliver it over the past five years, we feel it's necessary to adjust our prices," said Superintendent Randy Hoyer before the decision was made.

Administrators in the Copperas Cove, Killeen and Belton school districts said last week that they are not yet considering any meal price increases.

Killeen ISD

Killeen ISD spokesman Todd Martin said meal prices have not yet been addressed, and there are no plans to adjust them before discussion of the next budget cycle begins.

KISD's regular meal prices for students are $1.25 for breakfast, $1.80 for elementary school lunch and $2 for lunch at the middle and high schools.

Copperas Cove ISD

Copperas Cove ISD's nutrition department has seen the increase in food prices and has increased its budget, but not a significant amount, said Director of Child Nutrition Robert Jones.

Jones said there has been no discussion in the district about raising prices, but he thinks the district is well positioned with competitive prices and good management.

"We're a little bit underpriced on secondary lunches and breakfasts, but because of the position the economy is in and where people are economically, my immediate reaction is to stay where we are in lunches and breakfast prices for now," he said.

Breakfasts in CCISD schools are $1 and breakfast and lunch prices are $2 for all students.

Jones said the increase last year for food costs was about 4 percent, but he would be surprised to see that again this year.

"I think they were playing catch up," he said. But Jones said in food costs, the district is "somewhat at the mercy of our grocery suppliers."

"It's not just one that is feeling the effects of it, it's pretty much across the board," he said.

Belton ISD

Belton ISD recently raised the adult meal prices, but has no plans to raise prices for students. The adult price raise was due to an audit, not rising food costs.

Cynthia Zawieja, BISD director of nutrition services, said she hopes that food costs have stabilized, but the district is not running over budget and she does not plan to ask for a price increase next year.

"I feel like we've written menus such that we've been able to get the foods kids like and use the commodities that are cheaper. We've managed our food prices well," she said.

LISD's Jones said the district surveyed 18 other school districts' meal prices before deciding on the increase. The increase puts them above the average, but Jones said Monday that six of the other districts were also considering raising prices.

Contact Jackie Stone at jstone@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7474. Follow her on Twitter at @KDHcoveeditor.

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