Bay Lunch Prices Rise

PANAMA CITY- Tawanda Gainer works a full time job and has 2 boys in Bay district schools.

"I pay for the full lunch for both of them. I make sure there is money on their books every month," said Gainer.

Beginning next school year, it's going to cost Gainer even more. School board officials voted Tuesday to raise student lunch prices from $2.50 to $2.75.

The federal government pays schools $2.95 for each free lunch they serve. If district officials did not raise prices, they could face a 31- thousand dollar fine.

"So as a penalty I guess they are saying we are going to take it from somewhere else if you are not going to take it from the ones that are eating the meals," said Financial Manager Jim Loyed.

It's the parents who pay the full amount for their children who will feel the impact.

The price hike will cost Gainer an extra $20 a month. It's a small amount but, still, Gainer says her money goes fast, "It is stressful because when the money is not there, my kids come home and say i only had a cheese sandwich today."

Despite her hardship, Gainer says she doesn't resent the families on free or reduced lunches, "I'm aware that for some kids that's the only lunch they can get. It's the only meal that they get each and every day is what they get at school. So it doesn't bother me to have to pay a little bit more and somebody else have something."

The meal increases will not affect the breakfast menu or afternoon snack prices.