*Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correctly reflect where parents should apply for the free or reduced cost meal program.
VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Inflation and food prices have affected just about everything recently, and school lunch prices are seemingly no different.
This year Vigo County parents and students will be asked to shell out a bit more cash to pay for lunches.
In a message sent to parents, the Vigo County School Corporation explained the price system going into the 2023-2024 school year.
“Children need healthy meals to learn. The Vigo County School Corporation offers healthy breakfast and lunch every day at every school. We use Offer vs Serve with the goal being to reduce food waste while allowing students to choose the foods they want to eat,” the message reads.
Breakfast for the year will cost $1.55, while elementary school lunches will cost $3.10 and secondary lunch (middle and high school) costs $3.25.
When asked for a comment on the price increase, VCSC Spokesperson Katie Shane said that the school was required to increase prices based on the National School Lunch program.
“The National School Lunch Program requires a Meal Equity worksheet to see that meal prices for paid lunches are equal to free and reduced reimbursements,” Shane said. “If paid prices are lower, VCSC is required to raise prices, which is our case in Vigo County. The minimum amount required to increase is $.10. We asked for approval for the minimum.”
This means a parent whose child only eats lunch at school would see an increase of approximately $18 over the school year.
The organization encourages parents to determine if their child qualifies for the free or reduced-cost programs regarding lunches. Parents can apply online here, or using paper forms available at each school.
Qualifying students for the reduced-cost meal programs can purchase breakfast for just 30¢, while lunches cost 40¢.
Parents who received a letter informing them that their family qualified for free or reduced meal costs are asked not to fill out an additional application.
Parents with questions are encouraged to contact Sara Ramsey via email here.