The Anniston City Board of Education voted unanimously on Tuesday to increase lunch prices by 10 cents in the upcoming school year, raising the cost from $1.75 to $1.85. Superintendent Joan Frazier said this will affect the 12 percent of Anniston City School students who pay the full price for lunch. The other 88 percent receiving free or reduced price lunches will not be affected by the change.
School systems throughout the area are expected to consider similar measures, as the federal government pulls back on its subsidy for school lunches. A new federal law requires school systems to ease their prices gradually toward the full $2.72 price the federal government picks up for each free student lunch.
Frazier initially proposed a 25 cent price increase, but changed her recommendation after board members voiced concerns.
Board president Richard Hooks said that families paying for student lunches could still feel the pinch. “All of these folks don’t make tremendous salaries,” he said. “Just a little spike in their budget can hurt them, particularly if they have more than one kid in school.”
Hooks suggested raising the rate by 10 cents instead, to which the board agreed. Frazier’s amended recommendation was approved 4-0 in the absence of board member Jim Klinefelter.
Frazier said she had proposed the 25 cent increase at the recommendation of the child nutrition program director and was pleased with the board’s decision.
“Other systems have already gone up to $2.00,” she said. “But we want to transition into this as gently as possible.”
The board also used Tuesday’s special session to approve the audit of Anniston City Board of Education’s 2010 financial statements.
Carr, Riggs and Ingram auditor Keith Hundley found no significant problems in the statements. He reported an increase of $1.28 million in the general fund balance since 2006 but cautioned the board to continue to watch expenditures.