CLINTON - It's been along time coming, according to Superintendent of Schools Jack Cross. For the 2012-'13 school year, Clinton is adding a 25 cent increase to lunch meals for all four public schools.
Cross said the increase will align the schools with federal and state changes.
"We haven't increased prices in a number of years and part of it is just a matter of realistically catching up with what we haven't done over those past several years. Second is really looking at some of the new requirements from the state and federal level in regard to the amount of vegetables, fruits, and other requirements," the superintendent said. "We have done the analysis for that and it's going to cost us a little bit more to be able to meet those requirements, so we had to make an adjustment accordingly. The current state nutritional guidelines have increased the percentages of each of the food groups as you go through the lunches that we have to incorporate."
Lunch prices at Lewin G. Joel Elementary School and Abraham Pierson School will increase from $2.50 to $2.75 and lunch prices at Jared Eliot Middle School and The Morgan School will rise from $2.75 to $3.
The lunches that the schools serve are part of the National Lunch Program, whose guidelines include limiting fat and saturated fat as well as offering one-third of the recommended portions of protein, calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C. The program also recommends providing a balance between protein, dairy, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Food Service Director Jon Siciliano had done an analysis based on the updated requirements and found that the 25-cent increase would be the most feasible approach to adhere to the new changes.
"Between what some of the revenue that the schools are getting from our breakfast program at the high school and the offsets, we looked at it and said we can do it an increase of 25 cents," Cross explained."
The last increase to lunch prices occurred more than four years ago. Prior to the change in the federal and state requirement, the school system had already begun looking at ways to enhance the nutritional value for the students in town.
"Our whole emphasis over the last couple years has been really to increase the nutritional composition of our lunches to begin with," said Cross. "We have been making some effort to do more of our own preparations using more fresh fruits and vegetables and thinking a little differently about the commodities that we're buying."
For questions regarding the Clinton public schools lunch menu, email Food Services Director Jon Siciliano at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the superintendent's office at 860-664-6500.