Food for thought: The price of school lunches is going up

Posted at: 09/02/2013 3:25 PM | Updated at: 09/02/2013 7:26 PM

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You've spent money on back to school clothes and books. Now get ready to spend more on your school lunches. The price of school lunches are going up this year in several districts and some lunches are going up by as much as a quarter.

The districts didn't have much of a choice. This is a federal mandate telling schools they have to charge for paid lunches what the government spends to give free lunches.

In the big picture, $.25 cents is not a big deal, unless your like the Hogan family in Chili and you've got four kids to feed.

Steve and Joy Hogan are parents to 9 year old Marissa, 8 year old Olivia, 5 year old Alexa and Julianna, who's three. When their kids go to school in Churchville-Chili this week, the Hogans will spend an extra .25 cents per child on their school lunches.

"You know I think the question for us is why they're always going up?" Steve asked. "And if it's a mandated thing from the state, I don't think anyone is a big fan of mandated increases."

That's exactly what it is.

The federal Department of Agriculture mandated that students who pay for their lunch must pay the same amount that the government pays to subsidize the free lunches. At Churchville-Chili that adds an extra quarter. So lunches are $2.25 for K through 4 and $2.40 for 5 through 12.

"So I think $2.25, if that's what it's going to be, is going to be a reasonable amount for a little lunch for them," Joy said.

The prices of school lunches are in the same ballpark around the county -- from a low of $2.25 in Webster to $3.00 for high school students in Pittsford. It's not clear if the prices we found on the districts' websites include the increases for this year or not.

The Hogans know their prices have gone up.

"We love our district and we know it's not a reflection on that, the district, but it leaves parents having to come up with extra money and every bit counts when you have a family," Steve Hogan said.

Lunch prices from district to district

Here are the lunch prices we found by searching the websites of the districts:

Brockport: $2.50
Brighton: $2.50
Pittsford: $2.75 for elementary school $3.00 for middle and high school students
Gates Chili: $2.55
Churchville: $2.25 for K-4 students and $2.40 for students in grades 5-12.
Fairport: $2.55.
Penfield: $2.35 for K-12 students
Webster: $2.25
Henrietta: $2.30
West Irondequoit: $2.55

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