San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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May 20th, 2008
School lunch prices rise, Board hires new food service

The Hays CISD Board of Trustees on Monday approved a 20-cent per meal increase for student and adult breakfast and lunch, beginning with the 2008-09 school year. Next year, breakfast at an elementary school will be $1.25 and at a middle or high school, it will be $1.35 per meal. Lunch will cost $1.90 at the elementary level and $2.10 at the secondary level.

The price increase will not affect the reduced meal price of 30 cents for breakfast and 40 cents for lunch.

“Since the last time the district raised meal prices in 2005, the cost of food has increased significantly,” said Carter Scherff, Hays CISD Chief Financial Officer. He noted the nation’s consumer price index (CPI) from March 2005 to March 2008 showed a 17 percent increase in the cost of milk, a 20 percent increase in the cost of “food at home” and a 12 percent increase in the cost of “food away from home.”

Scherff said he is hopeful the district won’t have to increase food prices for another two or three years.

The School Board also approved a contract for a new food service company, Southwest Foodservice Excellence (SFE), of Peoria, Arizona, to provide breakfast and lunch to all campuses next school year.

The contract with Aramark, which has been the district’s food service provider for the past 10 years, expires June 30.

Hays CISD is the first district in Texas to employ SFE, which provides child nutrition in districts ranging from less than 1,000 students to more than 26,000 students (Dysart USD) in Arizona. The company features fruit and vegetable nutrition bars as well as salad bars at all campuses, and serves wheat bread on a daily basis. A roving chef display program is designed as an interactive cooking and learning experience for students.

Representatives from SFE will spend Tuesday in the district, including participating in a meeting with all child nutrition staff. A transition plan will be implemented throughout the summer.

All child nutrition staff, currently employed with Hays CISD, will remain employed by the district. Three full-time employees of Aramark will leave Hays CISD and move to other Aramark locations.

“I think Southwest will be a great partner with Hays CISD,” said Patti Wood, Vice President of the School Board. “They appear to be very eager to get more business in Texas, so I think they will do a good job for us. I think they will work very hard for us.”

By JULIE JEROME
Chief Information Officer – Hays CISD

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