School lunch prices are going up for a third year in a row in Wake County.
The Wake County school board approved Tuesday a 20 cent increase in meal prices that will raise the cost of lunch to $2.55 in elementary schools and $2.80 in middle schools and high schools. Lunch prices have risen 55 cents over the past three years as Wake has dealt with federal school lunch program mandates.
The new prices go into effect for the 2018-19 school year. Prices remain unchanged for school breakfast, which costs $1.25 in elementary schools and $1.50 in middle schools and high schools.
Before the 2016-17 school year, Wake hadn’t raised meal prices since 2010. School districts around the state and the nation have raised their meal prices in recent years since the federal school nutrition program was revised during the Obama Administration.
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Schools have faced challenges getting students to eat the healthier meals required by the federal government.
Wake school officials say the increase is necessary to maintain menu and service quality, replace aged equipment and remain fiscally sound. Even with the increase, Wake says its prices are comparable to what's charged by other North Carolina school districts.
The price changes don't affect students who qualified for free- or reduced-price lunch. Around 35 percent of Wake's 160,000 students qualify for subsidized meals.