NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. — The Northborough K-8 School Committee voted at its June 6 meeting to approve a 25 cent increase in lunch prices for Northborough schools.
According to Business Director Cheryl Levesque, the school lunch program is the closest it has been to running a deficit in many years.
Food Service Director Maura Feeley attributed this to several factors. First, she said, "food costs are rising and labor costs are rising." This is particularly true in the winter, when the price of fruits and vegetables rise.
And yet, Feeley said, those are exactly the kinds of foods the schools want to serve. Soon, she said, new Federal School Lunch Program regulations will limit fats, salts and sugars. To comply with those regulations—which Feeley called "wonderful"—the schools will increase their focus on healthier, albeit more expensive, options.
According to a memo sent to Superintendent Charles Gobron, student lunches presently cost $2.50, while staff lunches cost $3.25. Under the price change, these lunches will cost $2.75 and $3.50, respectively.
The memo also points out that lunch costs in Northborough are still in line with neighboring districts. In Westborough, for example, lunches at the elementary level cost $2.75, while those at the middle school level cost $3.00.
"I think this increase is really very moderate for us," she said, pointing out that students are being exposed to many new options in the cafeteria. For example, Feeley added that the schools are adding more local food from nearby farms to lunch menus.