Eating hot lunch at school will set families back this upcoming educational year.  A variety of Wisconsin and Douglas County-based schools have shared the school lunch prices for the 2022-2023 school year - including Superior.

The information comes at the heels of the news this past week that the local schools will have to discontinue the availability of totally-free lunches, following the loss of federal program funding.

Local school districts are encouraging families that qualify to submit their applications for free or reduced lunches - following the guidelines that were established prior to the federal, pandemic-related grant.  However - at the same time - they have seen their costs go up as well, and they need to pass those increases along to their families.

In Douglas County, the way those price increases look varies from school to school. At least one school is also holding prices to what they were in past years.  According to details sourced from an article in the Superior Telegram [paywall], here is a summary of what parents can expect for the 2022-2023 school year:

  • Solon Springs:  Parents of enrolled children won't see an difference or increase in pricing for school lunches and breakfasts.  Elementary school lunch prices are $1.95 for breakfast and $2.09 for lunch.  At the middle school level, those prices are $2.05 for breakfast and $3.10 for lunch.  And at the high school, the prices are $2.05 for breakfast and $3.20 for lunch.  Families that have students that qualify for reduced-price meals will pay $0.30 for breakfast and $0.40 for lunch.
  • Maple:  Parents of students enrolled will see price increases for their school lunches.  The meals will "cost 15 cents more than they did during the 2019-2020 school year, the last year families paid for meals".  With that increase, elementary students will now pay $2.75 for lunch, while middle and high school student lunches will cost $3.00.  Breakfast will cost $1.15 across the board.
  • Superior:  The price increase for this district is $0.10 for elementary and middle school meals, and $0.05 for high school students - at least when looking at lunches.  That elementary school lunch now costs $2.65, middle schoolers will pay $3.90, and high school students will have to pay $3.00 for a hot lunch.  At the same time, the Superior School District will continue to offer breakfast for free for all students.  There will also be free after-school meals for middle school and high schoolers available.

The big take-away that all of the districts have is that even if there is an increase, they ask that parents consider the overall rising costs of items and the current economy. As Cody Fechtelkotter, the Business Manager for the Maple School District put it:

"If a student were to purchase a lunch from us every day of the 2022-2023 school year, that would equate to a $26.25 increase from the 19-20 school year.  As you all know, food prices are higher and this recommendation is a result of that.  These prices are still below the price averages across the state."

The other thing that each of the districts is pushing is that - if they qualify - families should apply for the free or reduced pricing.  Many are unaware of the process or don't know that the applications don't automatically carry over, since everyone was getting free meals for the last two years.

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