Free lunches at public schools

The truth why we pay for them

Saylor Massey, Staff Reporter

Since the pandemic, public schools have been letting us have free lunches until this year. According to the Millard Public Schools website, student lunches cost $3.75 and teacher lunches cost only $4.25.The reason for the random pay of school lunches again is primarily because of inflation. Paying for school lunches was a need to put that money into the food for the students. 

Inflation causes food prices to rise because of shortages. According to TIME magazine and the article, when talking about school meal prices they mention how “schools are struggling with inflation moving prices up 24%”. These prices aren’t just with just the main course it also counts with the fruits, and milk they have to offer. Since this change, it doesn’t only harm the schools and district, this also affects the parents. According to the Nebraska Public Media, there are no exceptions for paid lunches, so the parents that struggle financially to get their kids lunches can no longer rely on the school to offer free food. 

The rise of school lunches has been so astronomical monthly that parents are complaining, leaving students to not get school lunches and possibly not eating lunch at all because parents don’t want to pay. Most schools stop serving some popular lunches due to how expensive it is. For instance, it explains in a TIME article, how much the percentage of each food item for school lunches has raised in the past year. These percentages can go up 15-24 percent. The most common foods that have been raised are cereals or milk cartons for breakfast; tortilla chips, or hamburger patties for lunch. Schools must follow giving students a promise to keep them healthy and well nourished. According to the Regulatory review, in 2010 congress passed the healthy, hunger-free kids act. President Obama stated this law has standard meals, snacks, and beverages that must be available for school lunch. I believe that making it a must that students have to get a full meal including fruits and grains and dairy products is part of the reasoning for school item strugglings. 

This act gives parents and students a guarantee of meeting basic health standards; although, this did cause an increase in bills, causing school lunching payments to rise. This big waste of money on food is unreasonable if it means parents and teachers have to pay more for school lunches. According to the School Nutrition Association, Congress had to increase reimbursement rates by 40 cents for lunches, but only 15 for breakfast. This can even mean in some states lunches can get up to $5.00.

Although many believe that school lunches deserve to be free. It’s a very difficult thought to make happen again. Especially after having it free for two to three years. I agree with lowering food prices, leaving the students not in dept less often. 

Just coming out of a pandemic is a reasonable excuse to lower school lunch prices. Getting them free for two to three years was a help, but starting slowly is better than boosting prices. Lowering prices would be the best option to still help the school, but to also let students and teachers eat their lunch without any worries from guardians.