Austin School Lunch Price Increases

July 16, 2018 09:01 PM

(ABC 6 News)-- There was a time when you could use them to make a phone call.

But this fall, many families will find their dimes in demand and it could add up.


"There are children out there that go hungry," Mary Jo Follmuth explained.

For many students, they might be the most filling and nutritious meals of the week. But next year, the cost of school lunch in Austin is doing up.

“It's a ten cent increase in all school lunches," said Mary Weikum, Food Service Director for the Austin school district.

It will bump the cost of lunch to between $2.40 and $2.60, depending on which school the student attends.

"And the why of it is because the federal regulations require that school districts charge an equal price for full-price students as we get reimbursed from the government for free lunches,” Mary Weikum told us. “We're lagging in that area quite a lot."

About 60 percent of the kids in the Austin school district qualify for free lunch, based on family income. There is also another option for those who don't qualify.

"If a family has several children a dime is suddenly 30 cents a day or 40 cents a day or maybe 50 cents a day," Mary Weikum said.

“You average that over the whole year it can really add up," Mary Jo Follmuth added.

So the Austin school district started the Lunch Tray Project, which accepts donations to help pay for meals for children from families who just miss qualifying for free lunch.

"I think we have enough in our coffers right now at this moment to help 20 kids get lunch every day next year,” food service director Mary Weikum said.

The Austin Zonta Club was one of the first to make a donation when the Lunch Tray Project began.

"If everybody gives a little bit just imagine how many kids you can help in the community," Zonta Club President Mary Jo Follmuth said.

“They're hard-working families doing the best they can,” Mary Weikum added. “And we just want to help in some way.”

To learn more about the Lunch Tray Project, contact the Austin school district.


Dan Conradt

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