Regular customers of Blair lunch services were surprised on the first day of school to find that prices had increased since last year – the first such increase in three years.
Most didn't know about the change until they went to pay for the food. "That's why my lunch was $4.10," junior Jon Chiang realized.
The price increase, which took effect throughout the county, was set by the state Division of Food and Nutrition, and targets a variety of popular choices, including Debbie Snacks, which increased by 10 cents to $0.35 and French fries, which increased by 25 cents to $1.25. Regular lunches increased by 10 cents to $1.85. The price increase does not affect the 911 Blair students currently on the free or reduced lunch program.
Cashier Debbie Davis, who has worked at Blair for the last three years, explains that the price increase was the first in the time she's worked at Blair. She has also noticed that many students have been surprised by the increase, but do not seem angry. Davis has also found the new pricing system a little confusing. "I used to be able to look at a plate of food and tell the price. Now I got to punch it up."
The decision to raise the prices came through the MCPS Board of Education, who released a public announcement after its July 8 meeting announcing the price increases. According to the document, the increase will help pay for several expenses.
"Increases reflect added expenditures in the food and nutrition services program for salaries and employee benefits and expended increases in the cost of food and supplies," the announcement reads.
With around eight million regular school lunches sold in a year all over the county, the ten-cent increase should raise about $800,000 for the cash-strapped county from the regular lunch program alone.
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