Find out how much Wake County school lunch prices will increase this fall

Wake County school lunch prices will go up 20 cents this fall — marking the fourth year in a row that the district has raised meal prices.

The Wake County school board approved the new prices on Monday for the 2019-20 school year that will raise the cost for a full-price lunch to $2.75 in elementary schools and $3 in middle schools and high schools. The latest increase means lunch prices have risen 75 cents over the past four years.

Wake families will now be paying $132.75 more per child for lunch each school year than they did four years ago.

Wake child nutrition staff cite higher food costs associated with the federal school lunch program, labor costs and the cost of replacing aging equipment. Despite the increase, school officials say Wake’s prices will remain comparable with other North Carolina school districts.

Before the 2016-17 school year, Wake hadn’t raised meal prices since 2010. School districts across the state and the nation have raised their meal prices in recent years since the federal school nutrition program was revised.

Schools have faced challenges getting students to eat the healthier meals required by the federal government.

The price increase will not affect the amount charged for reduced-price lunches. School breakfast prices are not changing this fall.

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T. Keung Hui has covered K-12 education for the News & Observer since 1999, helping parents, students, school employees and the community understand the vital role education plays in North Carolina. His primary focus is Wake County, but he also covers statewide education issues.