RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — With gas and food prices on the rise, there’s another item that some Wake County parents may have to deal with.
School board leaders will soon decide whether they will increase the cost of school breakfasts and lunches.
The federal COVID-19 waivers that helped school districts offer free meals to all students expire on June 30.
After that, each district will be responsible for the costs of food at school.
The Wake County Board of Education will decide during Tuesday’s meeting, whether or not the cost will also trickle down to families.
“Squeezing juice out of a dry lemon is not going to get it,” said Latisha Anderson, a Wake County parent.
Anderson explained that it’s still a tough time for many families
“People are still feeling hard financial effects from the COVID. They have not fully recovered, as well as from the inflation and the rise of gas prices,” she added.
Parents on Monday afternoon said they have mixed emotions about the potential change.
“Why charge for children to eat? It’s food. School should be free. Everything should be free,” said Alexis Stanton, a Wake County mom.
Laura Winters, another mom in the area, agrees.
“Everything has gone up but wages,” she said. “So now, school lunches are going up? How are we expected to live.”
For now, the proposed increase would be 25 cents. Lunch at an elementary school will go from $2.75 to $3.
The same meal at a middle or high school could cost $3.25.
These prices increase will not impact students who qualify for free and reduced meals.
“People are feeling the financial effect of everything going up,” Anderson said.
District officials attribute the increase due to rising costs across the board. School system leaders have also committed to raising wages for workers.
That, combined with inflation, means there needs to be more money coming into the schools.
“It’s a tricky situation. My opinions are on both ends. It is just 25 cents, but it starts to add up,” explained Winters. “The whole world right now is hard to live in.”
According to documents provided by the Wake County Board of Education, a price increase for meals is something other districts are also dealing with.
Pre-pandemic lunches in Johnston County cost $1.40 at elementary schools.
The costs for the 2022-2023 school year are projected to be $2.50.