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School lunches will cost 50 cents more in August
Director: USD 428 meal prices among lowest in Kansas
Courtesy of Andrea Bauer/Great Bend USD 428 Students at Riley Elementary share a smile during their school lunch in this undated file photo.

Most school lunch prices will increase by 50 cents when classes resume in Great Bend in August, and student breakfast prices will increase by 25 cents (30 cents for adults). The reduced-price meals available to eligible families will see no increase.

USD 428 Food Service Director Kristy Alvord explained the need for the price increase at Monday’s Board of Education meeting. Although approving 2024-2025 fees was the item on the agenda, board members had questions about a different food-service topic: Plans to sell and deliver meals to the new Bright Beginnings Daycare. (Read story here.)

The 50-cent increase brings the fee for full-price lunches to:

• Preschool - $2.35

• Elementary school - $2.50

• GBMS - $2.80

• GBHS - $2.85

• Adults - $4.50 

The district will also sell meals to Holy Family School and proposes selling meals to Bright Beginnings Daycare for $3.50. This is 50 cents more than Holy Family School paid last year.

Milk will stay at 50 cents but an increase is possible.

Breakfast prices for students, from preschool through 12th grade, will increase from $1.25 to $1.50 and the Food Service office proposed charging Bright Beginnings $1.50 for breakfasts. The adult breakfast fee will be $2.50, a 30-cent increase.

Reduced-price lunches will still cost 40 cents and reduced-price breakfasts will still cost 30 cents.

Rising costs

Alvord was asked to attend Monday’s school board meeting and explain the 50-cent price increase.

“That is a huge increase compared to what we have done in the past,” she said. Labor costs have increased by 13% and food costs are up 11% from 2022-2023 to the end of this year. (The school calendar year ends on June 30.) Inflation continues to affect food prices although “it has kind of plateaued a little bit,” she said.

Food Service will be in the red by the end of June. The deficit will be small, but it will be the first time Alvord has experienced that.

Even with the increase, Great Bend’s prices are reasonable when compared to other school districts, she said. “We are still one of the lowest costs in Kansas.”