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For the second year in a row, the Clover school board has approved an increase in the price of school meals, saying the change is necessary due to federal legislation.
The Clover school board Monday approved a 10-cent price increase for school lunches and a 25-cent rise in the cost of breakfast, effective when school opens in the fall.
That brings the cost to $1.25 for school breakfast and $2 for lunch at elementary schools and $2.25 for standard lunch at the middle and high schools. The Clover board also increased meal prices last year.
Finance director Ken Love told school board members the increase is needed in response to federal legislation that requires schools to bring the fees they charge for paid school meals in line with the federal reimbursements for free- and reduced-price lunches.
“This will keep us in line with meeting that requirement without having a huge jump at one time,” Love said about the meal price increase.
The legislation, called the Healthy, Hunger-Free Act of 2010, means that if the average price of a paid lunch is less than the difference between the federal reimbursement for free lunches, which is $2.79, and the lower federal reimbursement for paid lunches – 28 cents – the school must gradually adjust its average lunch prices or provide other funding to cover the difference.
The difference between the two federal reimbursement levels is $2.51. However, school officials have said the law doesn’t require schools to raise the cost of a lunch more than 10 cents each year.
Love said it also does not set a target date for when the prices must be in line with federal reimbursements.
The legislation has forced school districts across the nation to raise their lunch prices. The York school board last month approved a 10-cent hike in school lunch costs, increasing its lunch cost to $1.85 at elementary schools and $1.95 at middle and high schools.