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Iredell-Statesville Schools considers raising school lunch price

The federal government's free school meal program expires at the end of the month.

STATESVILLE, N.C. — Iredell-Statesville Schools are considering raising the price of a school lunch by 50 cents next school year.

Under the new proposal, breakfast would cost $1.90; Lunch for elementary students would cost $3.30, and lunch for middle and high schools would cost $3.45.

The school district's director of school nutrition said they're dealing with spiking food costs, rising gas prices, and pay increases.

"We've got all these mandated raises that I don't get a penny for," Tina Wilson said. "I am mad. I am furious with our government. That's all I can say. This is unjust to our children and to our department."

The federal government's free school meal program expires at the end of the month.

Wilson said the need has never been greater.

"We've been feeding more kids than we've ever fed," she said.

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The school district said they provided about 93,000 free meals a week this school year. Those meals fed 3,500 students a day since the free lunches 

"I think we owe it to our own children to feed them," Superintendent Jeff Jones said. "With that many more kids eating per day, that tells a story. That data tells you something."

WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to WCNC Charlotte by emailing money@wcnc.com.

There are two proposed bills that could help the situation. One bill is in the North Carolina legislature and would provide free meals for all students. There's also a federally produced bill that would extend free meals.

Right now, neither has passed.

Iredell-Statesville Schools leadership said if either proposal was enacted, they would re-assess the need to raise prices.

Tuesday night, the Fort Mill School Board voted to reinstate its meal prices to the pre-COVID 2019-20 level as the USDA Free Breakfast and Lunch Program Waiver for All Students nears expiration. 

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