Boonville High School’s lunch prices will raise slightly next year to stay in compliance with Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education regulations. Starting in the 2018-19 school year, high school students will pay $1.55 for breakfast and $2.45 for lunch. This is still well below the state average of $2.92 per meal, but school districts are prohibited from raising their prices more than 10 cents each year. During the 2017-2018 school year, Boonville schools served an average of 3,865 paid lunches each month.
Students on the free and reduced lunch program will continue to pay 30 cents for breakfast and 40 cents for lunch. In the past decade, the number of students on free and reduced lunch doubled. During the 2017-2018 school year, 80 percent of students qualified for the program.
“There’s not a lot of work in Boonville any more, so unless you’re driving to Columbia every day, it’s hard to find a good job,” said Glenda Curnutte, food service director. “We’ve absolutely seen more people applying for the free and reduced lunch program.”
During the 2018-2019 school year, Boonville students in kindergarten through eighth grade will receive free breakfast and lunch through a federal grant from the Food and Nutrition Service of the Department of Agriculture.
“It’s fantastic because it doesn’t leave any social marks,” said Fred Smith, principal of LSE Middle School. “Everyone just types in a lunch number and gets their food.”
Leslie Reardon, principal of Hannah Cole Primary School, echoed these sentiments.
“Parents are very grateful for that expense to be taken off their hands,” she said.
At the end of each school year, the federal government and state government will reimburse the district for all of these free and reduced price meals. During the 2016-2017 school year, the Boonville school district received a payment of $528,252.45 from the state. The USDA and Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will continue to pay the Boonville School District $3.25 for each free lunch provided, $2.85 for each reduced price lunch and 33 cents for every full-price lunch. The Boonville school district will also receive a 30 cent reimbursement for each full-price breakfast, $1.79 for each reduced price breakfast and $2.09 for each free breakfast.
“At the end of the day, we’re just trying to serve well-balanced meals and work with all these regulations,” Curnutte said.