Price of school lunches increasing

January 23, 2012 6:23:38 PM PST
The price of a school lunch is on the rise and the culprit may be in part stricter government spending rules. Some school districts have been using the government funding for poor children to drive down the cost of all school lunches, but now there is a crackdown, forcing districts to focus the money on only poor kids, so the cost of lunches are going up across the board.

Consequently, some kids are doing without lunch because their parents aren't poor enough to get into the free lunch program, but also can't afford to buy a lunch every day.

"Many times, again, they are not poor kids, they're from families who are working who just can't afford to make ends meet and sometimes, it's a two-week period sometimes, you hear parents say [they're] 'between paychecks' when they can go out and buy groceries. That school meal is sometimes the only meal a kids has," said Assm. Steven Bradford, D-Inglewood.

The school lunch program has been a major success. On average the cost of a school lunch has gone up only about 90 cents over the last 20 years. But now, in some school districts prices are up almost that much more, just this past year. On Monday, elementary school children nationwide, on average, pay $1.93 for lunch and high school students $2.20.