Keeping school lunch prices affordable as food prices surge

Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 4:59 PM EDT
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TOWN OF PHILADELPHIA, New York (WWNY) - We already know food prices have skyrocketed. Now those extra costs are being passed along in school cafeterias.

Students in the Indian River Central School District are paying $3.05 for lunch. That’s 20 cents more than last school year.

Ann Easter, the district’s food services director, says some districts around the country have raised the price of school lunches by a dollar or more.

“The formula wanted us to actually raise much higher than the 20 cents, but again, we had to take into consideration what families are able to afford but also help us be able to keep the bottom line,” she said.

Easter has worked in food services for more than 30 years at Indian River. She says the most recent years have been the most challenging due to the pandemic, inflation and supply chain issues.

“Milk has doubled in price since a year ago. Some of the food products that we get have been, you know, $50 more a case,” she said.

Easter says the district is substituting some brands of food, such as sugar and flour, with other less expensive brands.

She says the district will continue to look for lower prices, but won’t cut back on making sure meals fit nutritional standards.

7 News reached out to other school districts in the tri-county area to see how they’re handling the rising cost of food. We did not hear back.