School meal prices are rising in this North Carolina school district

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Wake County schools will increase breakfast and lunch prices for the next school year, but some say the 25-cent price increase is too much for families.

In a 5-3 vote Tuesday, the board approved a plan to raise school meal prices by 25 cents per meal, but only after much debate.

District staff said the costs of providing meals are increasing and if they don’t increase lunch prices they will have to reduce the quality of the food or eventually could even end up cutting staff. Several board members say they don’t feel comfortable passing those costs onto families.

Staff say the child nutrition program must provide certain portion sizes and certain types of foods and everything is getting more expensive.

“Recently, over the last few years, we have increased benefits and salaries for our staff,” said Mark Strickland, Chief of Facilities and Operations for the Wake County Public School System.

During the 2024-2025 school year, prices will increase at elementary schools to $3.50 for lunch and $1.75 for breakfast. For middle and high schools, prices will increase to $3.75 for lunch and $2.00 for breakfast. This is the price for students who do not receive free or reduced lunches.