Parents of Killeen Independent School District students may see a slight increase in the cost of their child’s breakfast and lunch meals starting in the 2014-2015 school year if the school board approves an item it discussed Tuesday during its monthly workshop meeting.
The proposed 25-cent increase per meal will affect about 40 percent of students in the district since about 60 percent of students are enrolled in the free and reduced lunch plan, whose rates will remain the same, said Steve Murphy, the district’s director for school nutrition.
Districtwide, 19,718 students receive free meals and 4,952 students receive reduced meals, Murphy said.
Megan Bradley, chief financial officer for Killeen ISD, said the increase is based on a formula the district uses to calculate what it is required by law to charge for its meals.
“Basically, (we take) a computer average of what we charge currently and this calculator compares it to the amount we’re reimbursed (by) the federal reimbursement rate for the free students,” she said. “If we do not meet their calculation, we’re required to increase it to a minimum amount.”
Bradley said the calculator requires the district to increase its breakfast and lunch rates by 20 cents, but she suggested 5 cents more to cover potential increases in future school years and to make it easier for cafeteria employees to provide change.
“You’re basically hedging off not having to increase next year so you don’t have to increase every year,” she said. “That’s not something we want to do.”
When the district raised meal prices in the past, Murphy said it saw about 10 to 12 percent less participation at the beginning of the school year.
“(Parents) are a little bit upset about the price increase,” Murphy said. “But that wears off. After October, probably the beginning of November, they begin purchasing again.”
Board member Susan Jones said she doesn’t understand why parents would push back against the increase.
“I find it amazing that parents would complain about a quarter,” Jones said. “I’m sure they don’t even notice a quarter when they go to McDonald’s or any of these other places; they don’t even consider the increase when they drive through and get their Happy Meal.”
The board will vote on the suggested meal plan increase during a meeting at 6 p.m. April 8 at the Killeen ISD Central Office, 200 N. W.S. Young Drive.
Proposed increase to Killeen ISD meal plan
- New breakfast cost (elementary) — $1.50
- Old breakfast cost (elementary) — $1.25
- New lunch cost (elementary) — $2.25
- Old lunch cost (elementary) — $2
- New breakfast cost (secondary) — $1.50
- Old breakfast cost (secondary) $1.25
- New lunch cost (secondary) $2.50
- Old lunch cost (secondary) $2.25
- Reduced breakfast cost (elementary and secondary) — 30 cents
- Reduced lunch cost (elementary and secondary) — 40 cents
Source: Killeen Independent School District