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Breakfast and lunch prices may be increasing by 10 cents in all Red Wing schools. As the free federally provided lunches come to an end for 2022-2023, this inflation could come with sticker shock for local families.

“I do think that families are used to not having to pay for lunches for a couple years, and this is going to be a significant chunk of money that families may not be anticipating,” school board member Pam Roe said during a workshop June 6.

Throughout the pandemic, the federal government provided free lunches to all students regardless of their financial status to counteract COVID-19 hardships. For the next school year, this is ending.

“[Not the best] timing, but we need to increase prices, too,” said Jess Pena, director of nutrition services. “The food service department is experiencing the need for higher wages and with inflation we are projected to see a vast increase in products all across the food service board.”

The state recommended that districts raise their meal prices by 10 cents for next year, and Red Wing food services would like to follow this direction.

“Prices have risen by around 10 cents for several years now,” Pena said. “Unfortunately this isn’t new.”

The department is constantly trying to reduce costs by re-developing its menu, but this does not completely cover inflation.

Proposed meal pricing

Breakfast

  • Elementary: $1.70

  • Middle school: $1.70

  • High school: $1.70

Lunch

  • Elementary: $2.80

  • Middle school: $2.90

  • High school: $3.05

The school board has final say on this decision and plans to vote on the prices at an upcoming meeting.

No matter the vote outcome, families will be able to apply for free and reduced lunches if they need a little extra help.

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