Federal law leads to increased lunch prices for Alabaster schools
By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor
Students, faculty members and visitors will pay slightly more for school lunches in Alabaster during the 2013-2014 school year after the city’s School Board voted to bring the prices in line with federal requirements during a May 13 meeting.
The School Board voted unanimously to set the school lunch amounts to $2.50 for elementary students, $2.75 for middle and high school students, $3.25 for faculty members and student visitors and $4 for adult visitors.
The Alabaster rates will be higher than lunch rates in the Shelby County School System during the 2013-2014 school year. Shelby County Schools will charge $2 for elementary students, $2.25 for middle and high school students, $2.75 for faculty members and student visitors and $4 for adult visitors.
The difference in price is a result of the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act of 2010, said Alabaster School Child Nutrition Program Coordinator Heather McDermott. The act requires school districts to price their paid lunches “equal to or more than” the amount the school district is reimbursed by the federal government for children in the free and reduced lunch program.
When the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act of 2010 was passed, existing school districts were given the option to gradually increase their meal prices to meet the federal standard, McDermott said.
“For new school districts coming in, you’ve got to meet that level immediately,” said Alabaster Interim School Superintendent Dr. Phillip Hammonds. “And that is across the nation.”
“The existing school districts are able to get to that number gradually,” McDermott said after the meeting. “But we will have to come in at that number from day one.”
School Board member Linda Church said “it’s important that parents know this is federally mandated.”
“We might do something different if we weren’t federally mandated to do that,” Church said.
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