Walker County Schools lunch prices across the board will rise by 5 cents next year.
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Walker County Schools Coordinator of Food Services Michelle Coker

Next year’s lunch prices

Elementary students: $1.95

Students in grades 6-12: $2.20

Adults: $3.20

Visitors: $4.05

Source: Walker County Schools Food Services Director Michelle Coker

Walker County Schools is again raising the price of school lunches for the 2016-17 academic year.

"I regret that I must recommend that the Walker County Board of Education approve a 5-cent increase to the cost of lunch prices for elementary, middle and high school student meals and adult and visitor meals due to a March 2, 2011, USDA Equity in School Lunch Pricing Fact Sheet," Schools Superintendent Damon Raines said at the most recent BOE meeting. "This 5-cent increase will mean an extra 25 cents per week if the student eats lunch every day. Breakfast prices will not change. Reduced meal prices will not change."

The price increase was mandated by the federal government based on the federal reimbursement amount to schools for students receiving free and reduced-price lunches. The incremental price increases over the past few years — 5 cents two years ago and 10 cents last year — are part of an overall 75-cent increase for the local school district.

"We are reimbursed $3.15 for free students and .37 for students not eligible for free or reduced price lunches; therefore, our cost for students not eligible for free and reduced price lunches should be $2.78," the superintendent's recommendation reads. "Our current average meal price is $2.03, which means we must increase our meal prices .75 cents. We regret having to increase our meal prices but it will be required for several years according to Public Law 111-296."

Walker County Schools Food Services Coordinator Michelle Coker said the district keeps prices as low as it can.

"You hate to go up, but it's a mandate," she said.