Lunch costs may rise for Coupeville students

Because of a projected deficit in food services, students in the Coupeville School District could be paying more for lunch starting in the fall.

The Coupeville School Board will discuss raising the prices students pay for lunch during a board retreat scheduled for Aug. 19.

The five-member board approved a contract Monday night with Chartwells to provide lunches within Coupeville schools. The problem, however, is the contract the board approved has a projected $40,000 deficit.

Rob Dunn, district manager for Chartwells, cited several reasons for the situation. Food costs have been increasing. As an example, he noted that people are paying more for milk than they were two years ago.

He also said recent federal regulations also affected prices. Those regulations include requiring an increase in the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables, which is something that is often thrown away by the students.

Superintendent Jim Shank, who took the helm of the school district in June, said it’s difficult to determine how much the school district will spend on food service in the coming year.

The contract states the district will pay Chartwells $3.72 per meal served in the school district. About half of the students use the district’s lunch program.

Students at Coupeville Elementary School currently pay $2.75 per meal while students at the middle and high school pay $3 per meal.

Shank said about half of the students eat lunches prepared at the school and the number of students eligible for free-and-reduced lunches stands at approximately 36 percent.

Other students also bring their own lunch and some high schoolers may opt to walk to Prairie Center, located kitty-corner from the high school, for lunch.

Chartwells was the only company to bid for Coupeville’s food service. The Coupeville School Board can review the contract each year for the next four years.

The new superintendent admitted parents should have been notified in the spring about any potential increases to lunch prices. This time, however, negotiations between the school district, Chartwells and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, which oversees the lunch programs for schools in the state, took longer.

With the new contract signed, students can enjoy a lunch for the 2013-2014 school year.

“We’re going to have a good, solid program for students, Shank said.

The Coupeville School Board is scheduled to discuss lunch rates during a board retreat in August. That retreat takes place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday, Aug. 19 at board member Kathleen Anderson’s house located at 352 Marine Dr. in Coupeville.


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