By Caitlin Schudalla
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Norman Public Schools’ lunches will see a slight increase in cost following a measure approved Monday evening by the Board of Education.
Lunch costs will increase by $0.05 per meal as part of a gradual series of increases to bring the average price of meals to $2.59, in accordance with the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
Adjustments in cost are reflective of the Act’s revised nutrition standards, requiring menus to include fruits, vegetables and whole grains and recalculating federal reimbursement rates to accommodate higher costs of healthier food.
“The NPS average price is $2.16, so it’s recommended that we increase the price slightly each year to reach the $2.59 goal,” said Cindy Stanbrough, Sodexo Nutrition Solutions manager.
Stanbrough said the $2.59 goal is based upon an equity clause in the Act that calculates lunch costs based on the difference between the district’s federal reimubursements for free/reduced and paid school lunches.
The district increased lunch prices in 2012 by $0.10 as part of the same gradual increase.
“The effort in this equity clause is to make sure that students on the free and reduced lunches aren’t subsidizing students who have the capability to pay full price,” Superintendent Joe Siano said.
Board members also renewed a long series of agreements and contracts, notably support staff for the 2013-2014 school year.
“Support personnel are very important to us. They keep the buses running, the lights on, the insurance paid. We’re happy to re-employ these workers,” board member Linda Sexton said.
In his administrative staff report, Siano commented on the state’s recent appropriation of $91 million to common education, stating that a realistic picture of the district’s portion is pending based on line items and the impact of State Question 766, which is expected in June or July.
“I think a better measure of the state’s legislature and its funding of education isn’t the actual number but what percentage of the state’s overall budget that number represents,” Siano said. “Common education’s budget dropped from 36 percent to 33 percent since 2008, which represents the smallest share of the state’s budget since 1991.”
For a full list of contracts renewed, view the board meeting agenda by visiting www.norman.k12.ok.us.