Archived Story

Board hikes school lunch prices

Published 11:02am Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The peas and carrots on the trays of Fergus Falls Public School students just got a little more expensive in the hope that they will become a bit more nutritious as well.

The School Board passed a resolution Monday to raise lunch prices for K-12 students, following mandates from amendments in the federal government’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

In the elementary K-5 schools, lunches will be $1.95 per meal for the 2013-2014 year, and 6-12 secondary school prices will be $2.10 per meal – an increase of 10 cents for both from the previous year.

To encourage healthier school lunch programs, the federal government has mandated an increase in lunch prices, with a set goal of an average $2.59 per meal.

Schools are allowed to increase the prices incrementally, meaning more price hikes are to follow.

Board member Matthew Lemke pointed out that, because the school’s lunch program has broken even financially to date, there would be a surplus in the future.

Superintendent Jerry Ness explained that the increases are most likely an attempt to get more fresh fruits and vegetables on school menus, and to enhance the quality of equipment to prepare foods more nutritiously.

The resolution did not pass unanimously, despite the regulation being part of federal law.

“This is really an increase of several hundred dollars for some families,” said Darrel Tungseth, the only board member to vote against the measure.

“I realize we have to do it, but we have people getting wound up about little tax increases. I’d like to see them getting wound up about this and contact their congressman and senators to see if we can’t get some sense into the program.”

  • P. Carlson

    I recommend parents send sack lunches next year. Excellent lunches can be sent for far less than the $1.95 or $2.10 cost of hot lunch. Forcing schools to charge more than it cost to feed the students shows lack of intelligence on the part of whoever is forcing these price increases. Parents stand up and say enough is enough, we will feed our children as we see fit for a price we can control using sales and coupons to set the menu for lunches.

  • jensen55

    Why does the federal government think they need to stick their nose into everyones business????? When I went to school,the schools had a nutritionalist to make sure the lunches were up to par. The government needs to get OUT OF OUR LIVES!!!!!!

  • Steph

    I understand that this is going to happen. I also understand that it means more money out of my family’s pocket, but I still can’t make a nutritious meal from home for my child for less than they make him one at school, so I am OK with it. ( I guess I use the term ‘nutritious’ pretty loosely when it comes to school lunch, but I survived 13 years of it, my kids can too.) I wonder if the reduced and free lunch provision will be expanded to help?

  • jdartin

    Dan, unfortunately the federal government can stick their noses in this as it is a “public school” or “state school” or “government school” offered to all children by the government. Food prices increase annually, therefore they have to be paid for. With a 10 cent increase, it is roughly an annual increase of only $20/pupil eating lunch. (23 school days/month x 9 months = 207 days x .10 cent increase = $20.70) I’m glad my state funded schooling provided me the basic math skills to compute the aforementioned example.

  • Richard Olson

    “The government needs to get OUT OF OUR LIVES!!!!!!”. That’s exactly what the government did about a fertilizer plant in Waco Texas. The government has been “out of the lives” of the people who lived near the West Chemical and Fertilizer Plant since the government last inspected it in 1985. That’s 28 years of no government interference in case anyone is counting.

    • holly

      Some people just can’t resist taking a tragedy and twisting the facts to meet their twisted way of thinking. It is just not true that the plant in question had not been inspected by the “government” since 1985. That is a flat-out lie. If you do your research, you will see that it was in 1985 that the last OSHA inspection took place. But there have been a lot of other inspections since that time, some of which resulted in fines. Among others, they included the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration in 2012 and the EPA in 2006.

  • JMahan

    Richard Olson – what in the H*** are you talking about? Your going from one extreme to the other, crawl back under your rock.

  • Grayson

    From school lunchs to chemical plants….What?

  • Richard Olson

    For the benefit of the three geniuses who felt compelled to strike back because I drew a natural conclusion from the comment by Daniel Jensen that “The government needs to get OUT OF OUR LIVES!!!!!!” because the mentality that says we don’t need government involved in food safety and nutrition for students is the very same mentality that says government needs to keep out of the dangerous fertilizer manufacturing process. That mentality led last week to a thus far unknown number of dead and missing in Waco Texas.
    I guess Holly wants to run interference for management neglect by citing two cursory inspections I did not mention……

    (In June 2011 — less than two years before the explosion — the private company that owns the plant, the West Fertilizer Co., filed an emergency response plan with the Environmental Protection Agency stating that there was “no” risk of fire or explosion at the facility. The worst scenario that plant officials acknowledged was the possible release of a small amount of ammonia gas into the atmosphere.

    Since then, regulators from other agencies have been inside the plant, but they looked only at certain aspects of plant operations, such as whether the facility was abiding by labeling rules when packaging its fertilizer for sale.
    The most recent partial safety inspection at West Fertilizer was in 2011. That inspection, by the U.S Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Commission, led to a $5,200 fine for a variety of infractions, including failing to draft a safety plan for the transport of the large canisters of pressurized anhydrous ammonia stored on site.)

    It is not just the lax government inspections mentality, but also the lack of zoning laws or rules in Texas that allowed a dangerous fertilizer plant to be situated 600 feet from a Nursing Home,1100 feet from a Hospital and Middle School and 2000 feet from a High School. And by the way Holly, answering a questionnaire from the EPA isn’t the same as an in plant inspection.

    Now if Jeff Mahan and Grayson can not see a connection between a mentality which wants government out of hazardous chemical manufacturing and out of food safety and nutrition for students, perhaps we have to wait for 50 or 60 students to die from poisoning in unchecked or inspected meat served in a school cafeteria. Perhaps then I can crawl out from under my rock and take my place along side people with amazing powers of prognostication and prophecy like Jeff Mahan.

    • holly

      So, by your own admission, there WAS a government inspection done after 1985 (in 2011). And numerous fines and paperwork filed with the government certainly means that “28 years of no government interference” is another lie. You prove my point. Facts matter, as Larry/Walt so often opines. Using lies to support your conclusion undermines your argument totally. One could just as easily look at the situation and say that the government inspectors were incompetent, and that adding more incompetent government oversight would not be cost-effective.

      • Richard Olson

        For those of us competent in English Holly, it’s fairly obvious that’s what I just said (despite your twist). It’s also apparent that for you business apologists you will grasp at any straw to make excuses for murdering people for profit.

        In your scrooge mind, being allowed in one or two rooms of a plant is the same as seeing the entire plant and false answers on a mailed questionnaire is also the same as an in plant inspection.

        I wonder Holly if there is any conduct you won’t excuse in the name of more profits. Is their any line you won’t cross to run interference for a business which treats the lives of workers as expendable. You are the very personification of the warped mentality that gets people killed. In two weeks you’ll be here claiming the plant didn’t blow up and no one was killed. It’s no wonder you don’t want people to know who you really are.

        • holly

          As someone who claims to be competent in the English language, surely you should be able to show me just where I made “excuses for murdering people for profit” here. I merely pointed out the falsehoods that you wrote, and your response verified that you did indeed, lie, to support your twisted argument. That’s all, Chip. Keep up the good work. And I’ll be here in two weeks to point out more of your twisted logic, bigotry, lies, hypocrisy, etc, etc.

          • Richard Olson

            Absolutely nothing penetrates that petrified bone surrounding your few remaining gray cells, does it. I’ve twice now to explain that access to one or two rooms of a plant is not a full inspection nor is answering a questionnaire. The fact remains that the last full government inspection BY ANY AGENCY of the federal government was in 1985. You say that’s a lie because you think you found two loopholes, neither of which was a full, on the ground, in the plant, inspection. Your attitude toward worker safety tells me you’ve never had to work a day in your life.

          • holly

            Oh I get it now! When you said that “the government last inspected it in 1985″, you just totally forgot the word “fully”. Yeah, I can see how you could forget that word, being so competent in the English language. By doing so, it sounds so much more dramatic, just like it did in the Huffington article that you likely copy/pasted from. I stand by my assertion that numerous fines, partial inspections and paperwork filed with the government certainly means that “28 years of no government interference” was definitely an outright lie. Keep spinning Chippie.

          • Richard Olson

            Stand where you wish, you’ll still be two days late. Fish

    • Grayson

      This article is about increased $$ for school lunch. Yes the food needs to be inspected before the school get it. If that needs to be done by the government that’s fine. I have no problem with that. In addition, if the government feels the need to regulate chemical plants that’s fine as well. YES the government is involved in both of these programs. That’s the way it is. Having too much government can be bad, but somethings just need regulations.

  • MichaelJ

    How does Darrel Tungseth do math? How would this cost a family an extra”several hundred dollars”? I’d like to ask him how a family with twenty five or thirty kids could not be on free or reduced lunch already. Wow.

  • P. Carlson

    Socialism at work. Keep voting in the ones who claim to be democrat and it will only get worse.

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