Franklin cafeteria raises lunch prices

Published 11:32 am Friday, July 26, 2013

FRANKLIN—Lunch prices are on the rise in the Franklin City School District due to federal mandates.

Breakfast will continue to be offered for free, but lunch prices will go up 10 cents for students, and 25 cents for teachers.

At the elementary level, prices will rise to $2.25, and at the middle and high school levels, the price will be $2.50. Teachers at all levels will pay $3.25.

The reasoning is that student lunch prices have to increase within the next few years to meet what the government is providing for free-lunch students. Students at all levels will eventually be expected to pay $2.59, while teachers will eventually be expected to pay at least 55 cents more than that.

Franklin schools also recently met state certification for nutritional standards, said Lawrence Whiting, supervisor of pupil services. To meet the standards, cafeterias have to serve all groups of vegetables everyday—red and orange, including carrots, leafy dark green, starchy, and peas and beans. As well, students have to meet a certain calorie count every day, while keeping saturated fat down.

“We try to fry as little as possible,” Whiting said. “We are getting new ovens in November, and hopefully with those we will be able to phase frying out.”

Currently, the school has a two-week rotation of menus for each day, but it is trying to add a third week of menus, he said. Menu changes can be a challenge, due to having to find items of comparable nutritional standards, so that the schools can remain certified.

Whiting said there have been complaints, especially at the higher level of schools, but that these are consistent across the state in districts that have implemented this program.

“The complaints are not about taste, the students like the food, or if they don’t, we switch it out for something they will eat,” he said. “They complain that the food is not enough. I know that it is to cut down on the obesity problem, but it is probably something we need to look at in the future.”

Superintendent Dr. Michelle Belle said also she likes the food.

“Our food is very good,” Belle said. “I would eat at the cafeteria every day if I had the time. I’m pleased with the job our managers and cooks do.”

Whiting added he does eat at the cafeteria every day.

“The ladies do a great job in the cafeteria, the food is good and they have a great rapport with the students,” he said. “They work very hard.”

Students at the elementary level are expected to get between 550 and 650 calories at lunch, and saturated fat has to be less than 10 percent of those calories.

Students at the middle school level are expected to get 600 to 700 calories per day, and saturated fat again must be less than 10 percent.

High school students are to get 750 to 850 calories per day at lunch, again, with saturated fat content needing to be less than 10 percent of the total calories.

“The goal is that students will learn about nutrition at school, and hopefully eat better throughout their lives,” Whiting said.