Friday, October 9, 2015         

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School meal prices to hold

By Mary Vorsino


The state Board of Education has shot down a proposal to raise school meal prices in January, saying the increases will hurt families already struggling in the economic downturn.

Board Chairman Garrett Toguchi said he will also call for legislators to repeal Act 26, which requires the Department of Education to set prices at no less than half the cost of preparing school lunch and breakfast.

The department has said it needed to raise the price of school lunch and breakfast to comply with the law.

But Toguchi said board members could not support the increase, which comes on top of other rising fees this year.

The board voted 8-2 at a Thursday meeting on the Big Island against the fee increase.

"We just raised the meal prices last year," said Toguchi. "All the fee increases ... (are) really squeezing out the middle-income families, especially those with multiple kids."

The cost of a school lunch jumped this year to $2.20 from $1.25; breakfast prices went to 95 cents from 35 cents; and school bus fares rose to 75 cents each way, from 35 cents.

The board has also approved fee increases for summer school, which will cost $190 this year, up from $160, and for the A+ after-school program. Effective in January, A+ will cost $80 for a family's first child, up from $55.

The department wanted to increase the cost of school lunches an additional 15 cents a day, to $2.35, and raise the price of breakfast 5 cents, to $1.

The fee increase would have taken effect in January.

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