Overcoming hunger pangs will cost Lawrence public school children an extra nickel this year.
The price of the basic school meal at breakfast and lunch will increase 5 cents when classes start in August. Breakfast will be $1 at elementary schools and $1.15 at secondary schools, while lunch climbs to $1.65 for elementary students and $1.90 for secondary students.
"The food service department is the only area of the school community that is expected to be self-supporting," said Paula Murrish, the district's food service director.
She said a 3.5 percent increase in staff wages and benefits, as well as a 2 percent increase in the cost of food and supplies, prompted the school board to approve a price increase.
The new fee structure will add $270,000 to the food service budget, Murrish said. With a $4 million annual budget, the district serves 1.1 million meals each year.
Officials said the price increases might have been higher had the school board not consolidated three elementary schools in May. While East Heights School remains open as a preschool center, Centennial and Riverside schools were shut down.
"We will have less employees on payroll because of that," Murrish said. "We will be saving funds."
Murrish said the cost adjustments followed a year in which the board adopted a 10-cent increase in elementary meals and 15-cent boost in secondary meals.
Despite back-to-back price increases, the Lawrence district's meal program isn't the most expensive in this part of the state.
Elementary lunch prices are $1.85 in Olathe, $1.75 in Blue Valley and Shawnee Mission, $1.70 in Eudora and Leavenworth, $1.60 in De Soto, $1.35 in Kansas City, Kan.
Meal prices for adult customers in the Lawrence district were not changed. An adult breakfast is $1.40 and an adult lunch will be $2.50.
Student meals in the federal reduced-cost program also won't change from 30 cents for breakfast and 40 cents for lunch, Murrish said.