Danville Express

Newsfront - April 27, 2007

School lunch prices take a hike

Increases will support higher costs of labor

by Jordan M. Doronila

Food prices are going up in schools in the San Ramon Valley.

Trustees gave their approval earlier this month to increase meal prices in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. The prices are rising due to the increased operation cost in the district's child nutrition department, which prepares and serves lunch daily to students.

"(It's) mostly due to labor cost, which include wages and benefits for child nutrition staff," said John Hillmon Sr., director of the district's Custodial Operations Child Nutrition Department. "We review our price structure annually; however, we have not raised the price every year."

"I believe the last increase was about three to four years ago," he added.

The price of lunch in elementary schools will increase from $2.80 in 2006-07 to $3 for 2007-08. In middle schools, the price will go from $3 to $3.50; and in high schools, meal prices will be $3.50 next school year.

Adult meals remain at $3.75, and milk and juice also are staying at 50 cents each.

The nutrition department employs the services of Sodexho Inc. to serve as consultants to its food service program. Approximately 19 elementary schools are serviced by a production kitchen at California High School, which prepares and delivers food. The secondary schools cook their own food onsite.

"Raising the cost of lunch service allows ... the program to continue our mission, which is to provide the best possible service and highest quality food to our students," Hillmon said.

"We will continue to work with our school community to provide our students with nutritious meals at an affordable price," he added.

Contact Jordan M. Doronila at jdoronila@DanvilleWeekly.com

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