ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

School board approves lunch prices for 2022-23 school year

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service’s nationwide waiver to allow the Seamless Summer Option through school year 2021-22 is set to expire at the end of the Jamestown Public School District’s fiscal year, which is June 30. This waiver allows schools to serve meals to all students free of charge.

JSSP School News
We are part of The Trust Project.

JAMESTOWN – The Jamestown Public School Board unanimously approved on Monday, May 16, the school lunch prices for the 2022-23 school year.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service’s nationwide waiver to allow the Seamless Summer Option through school year 2021-22 is set to expire at the end of the Jamestown Public School District’s fiscal year, which is June 30. This waiver allows schools to serve meals to all students free of charge.

The last time families paid for school meals for their children was two years ago. The school board approved an increase of $0.20 to $0.25 per meal per child for the 2021-22 school year last year.

For the 2022-23 school year, it will cost an extra $0.40 to $0.50 per meal per child from the last time families paid.

The approved school meal prices for one student for the 2022-23 school year are:

ADVERTISEMENT

  • kindergarten through 12th grade reduced lunch: $70 per year for lunch or $0.40 per day. The state of North Dakota covers the reduced price meals for breakfast. 
  • elementary students: $420 for 175 days for breakfast or $2.40 per day and $595 for 175 days or $3.40 per day. 
  • middle and high school students: $437.50 for 175 days for breakfast or $2.50 per year plus $2 for an additional entree and $630 for 175 days or $3.60 per day plus $2 for an additional entree. 

Superintendent Rob Lech said Friday families will go back to paying for meals for each child if the waivers are not extended. He said there has been discussion in the U.S. Senate about extending the waivers.
“I would hope that they would extend it for the entire year or that could be problematic for a lot of folks if it was on a calendar year,” Lech said in a telephone interview.

He said the concern is some families have children in elementary schools who have never paid for a meal before and the extra $0.40 to $0.50 per meal per child will be a burden for families.

“But in our current environment, $0.40 to $0.50 additional per meal is likely still having our food service fund go backward,” he said. “But, asking for any more than that right now, especially in an environment where we haven’t been charging for meals because that has been covered by the USDA for the last two years, we want to be really cognizant of what those increases could mean for people.”

If the waivers are extended, it will give the school district more time to communicate with families that have not paid for school meals for their children.

“The hope would be if these were extended, that would allow us a whole year to have these conversations with families to transition them back into full-pay meals, transition back into the process for free and reduced lunch for those who are struggling financially, they need a little additional support,” he said. “There are mechanisms in place to help families in need and that is free and reduced lunch.”

As a general rule of thumb, the food service department should keep about three to four months of expenditures as an interim balance, Lech said.

“We are pretty close to that right now,” he said. “Deficit spending is going to take us down from that but I think it is something that we can absorb, at least for now.”

Lech said the USDA waivers also give the school flexibility with meal regulations because there are strict meal requirements in terms of nutritional value. He said it is important for the waivers to be extended because the supply chain issue also affects the school district from getting the items needed for the meals.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Those waivers are very important to us because of those really strict dietary regulations, we might not always get everything to make that menu work and fit into those regulations so we are concerned about that,” he said. “We are concerned about having to meet those dietary regulations that are very strict next year in the environment where we may not get everything that we need to to make that a reimbursable meal so that is a concern.”

Lech said he had a conference call with the office of Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., last week to discuss the support of continuing the USDA waivers through the 2022-23 school year.

Masaki Ova joined The Jamestown Sun in August 2021 as a reporter. He grew up on a farm near Pingree, N.D. He majored in communications at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
What to read next
The Stutsman County Commission met Tuesday, July 5.
Iowa-based Summit Carbon Solutions says its $4.5 billion pipeline project will help ethanol plants lower their carbon score. The project aims to capture greenhouse gas emissions and pipe the CO2 to western North Dakota for underground storage. But a lawyer is trying to keep Summit off the land owned by his clients.
Motorists should use alternate routes if possible.
The Arts Market begins its season on July 7 in downtown Jamestown.