NW Indiana schools raising lunch prices

August 12, 2008 3:43:50 PM PDT
School is getting back into session in many communities, and when students return, many may need to bring more than an extra pencil or two. Thanks to higher food and gas prices, parents could be forced to pay for lunch. Your child's school lunch could get more expensive. School lunches in several districts across the Chicagoland area are going up.

At the Munster School District in Indiana, the school board voted to increase the high school's lunch, from $1.90 to $2, middle school lunch is going up 15 cents, and elementary school students will be paying an extra 20 cents per lunch.

"We're gonna have whole grains, we're gonna have corn, we're gonna have the increased fuel charges for delivering the foods. So we felt we needed to do an increase," said Paulette Liback, Munster School District food service director.

Liback says the district's cost of milk alone increased by $34,000, costing over $110,000 for the year. The Munster School District has a $1.7 million food budget and is looking at cutting back in other areas in order to keep food prices down.

"We're trying to absorb what we can. We're trying to cut back maybe on some of the labor, some of the things that take more labor intensive things, some of the higher priced items," said Liback.

Liback says that other school districts in Indiana have increased their school lunches for the summer. Portage will see a 15 cents across-the-board meal increase. Merrillville School District passed a lunch increase, and the Lake Central School Cooperation in Schererville and St. John, overseeing 14 schools, is increasing lunch by a nickel.

"The cost of labor, the cost of your disposables, a lot of the foam plates, the foam supplies, all oil-based. Those have been going up for the last couple of years due to the cost of fuel," said Liback.

Liback said lunch prices may go up again next semester.