Jun 11, 2024

USD 428 board approves hefty increase for lunches at Great Bend schools

Posted Jun 11, 2024 3:19 AM

Great Bend Post

For the first time in some three decades, the USD 428 Board of Education found itself in a new home Monday evening. With an extended executive session at the new District Education Center at 1809 24th Street in Great Bend, the board remained in the new confines for nearly five hours. A decision to approve school lunch costs came earlier in the evening. Food Services Director Kristy Alvord laid out the reason for the change.

"Food cost from the 2022-23 year to the end of this school year went up 11 percent," she said. "I expect some of the cost to still go up for this next year, but what I've seen with my bids coming back is that it has kind of plateaued a little bit. It didn't skyrocket so much like it did the previous year."

Great Bend schools will see a $0.50 increase for lunches across the board. Preschool lunches will increase from $1.85 last year to $2.35. At Great Bend High School, the move is from $2.35 to $2.85. Reduced lunch prices will remain at $0.40, and milk prices could see an increase from $0.50 pending a new contract. Breakfast will increase $0.25 for Pre-K through 12 students to $1.50.

"Of course, with the cost and us not having a large increase last year, the food service fund is completely okay but we have run at a loss," Alvord said. I think by the end of June, it will be a small loss but it's still a loss, which is something I've never experienced so I'm kind of upset about it because this is my first year for it."

Alvord said labor cost increases also factored into the decision, but that USD 428 still has among the lowest school food rates in the state. The board debated a new contract with Bright Beginnings, the new childcare facility in Great Bend. That matter will come to a vote at a previously-scheduled special board meeting at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 26.