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Student meal prices rise due to inflation



Little Rock, Arkansas — Inflation in food prices is causing some Arkansas districts to have to make some changes this fall. The district is paying about $30 more for a case of fruit, which is why families will feel the impact this fall, according to the Pulaski County Special School District’s Student Nutrition Director, Regena English.

“It is something that we have to do in these times,” she said.

According to English, everything is coming at a higher price.
“Inflation food cost has just doubled,” she said.

Knowing the families within the district are feeling the pinch too and the district was hoping it wouldn’t come to this, English said.

“We are going to have to raise prices this school term, just enough to cover the food cost and not put too much of a burden on the parents that are having to pay,” she said.

According to English, the burden will be about a quarter to two for full-paid students, but students on the free and reduced lunch program will stay the same. “We’ve been adjusting and trying to do as much as we can with our commodities and that kind of stuff to make the hit just a little less, but it is something we have to do as a district,” she said.

According to Child Nutrition Director Elen Smith, it’s not just something impacting PCSSD though, the Lonoke School District is having to make similar changes. “Anytime you have prices going up on food in the grocery stores, it’s gonna go up for everybody,” she said.

They aren’t sure how much meals will go up in the fall yet, but they just know they’ll have to do it, Smith said. “It’s just the way of it all right now,” she said.

According to Smith, random things like lunch trays and mandarin oranges are hard to find. “It’s a hopeful thought for things to be in stock, but you know, with the unemployment and all of that and people not working, you have hard time getting things,” she said.

That application will open on July 1. Both districts encourage families to apply for the Free and Reduced Meal Program.


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