Written by Daniel Offner Thursday, 02 January 2014 00:00
Students returning from their two-week hiatus, will find that the cost of lunch at Farmingdale High School and Howitt Middle School has increased for the first time in nine years. Effective Jan. 1, 2014, the Farmingdale school district will increase all full priced school lunches by .25 cents. This will not affect the school breakfast program, nor will it affect students who qualify for free or reduced price meals.
“The Farmingdale school district is committed to providing all students with nutritious, well-balanced meals in a welcoming environment while striving to maintain low school lunch prices,” said Assistant Superintendent Paul Defendini, in a letter to parents in the school district.
In a presentation to the Farmingdale Board of Education, last October, Defendini told parents that increases to the state Employee Retirement System, the increased cost of food and ingredients and changes to the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act all played a factor to the district’s food service program running a deficit in the 2012-2013 school year.
Due to the deficit, members of the Board of Education unanimously voted, last month, to increase the cost of school lunches in two parts—once in January, with an additional .25 cent increase scheduled to go in affect next September.
Starting January, the price of lunch for Farmingdale High School students will increase from $1.75 to $2, while lunch for Howitt Middle Schoolers will go up from $1.50 to $1.75. In September 2014, students returning to Farmingdale High School can expect the prices to go up again, from $2 to $2.25. Middle school lunch will also increase from $1.75 to $2.
Apart from the increased cost, the Farmingdale school district also plans to change its a-la-carte lunch menu items, next September, in order to comply with the federal Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act. Based on the HHFKA requirements, a-la-carte items will need to be either a whole grain rich product; contain a fruit, vegetable, dairy product or protein as the main ingredient; be a combination food with at least 1/4 cup of fruit or vegetables; or contain 10 percent of the daily value of one nutrient of public concern, such as calcium, potassium, vitamin D and dietary fiber.