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Mars raises meal rates by up to $0.25

ADAMS TWP — Board directors of Mars Area School District approved an increase of $0.25 for secondary school meal rates and $0.10 for elementary school lunches during a meeting Tuesday.

Business manager Debbie Brandstetter said the district found it was undercharging lunches as per calculations evaluated through a paid lunch equity tool required by the state through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. School districts use the tool annually to calculate lunch prices.

“We increased the elementary level (lunches) by 10 cents — from $2.80 to $2.90 — because according to the calculation from the state, we should be charging more than that,” Brandstetter said.

Brandstetter said the district decided to increase prices at the elementary level by the minimum amount of $0.10, and not more. Kindergarten through sixth grade is part of the National School Lunch Program, meaning the district receives reimbursement from the state and federal governments toward the meals, she said. Breakfast for elementary school students is free and paid for by the state.

At the secondary level, which is not covered by the National School Lunch Program, the school district raised the price of breakfast and lunch by $0.25 from $3.25 to $3.50 due to food costs, Brandstetter said.

The district has not raised meal rates since before the COVID-19 pandemic, Brandstetter said.

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