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Raymond Central lunch prices to rise

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RAYMOND – As worldwide inflation continues its impact on consumers’ billfolds, school districts are also looking at ways to pinch pennies or recoup increased expenses.

At the Raymond Central Board of Education’s July 13 meeting, Superintendent Lynn Johnson introduced new school lunch and breakfast prices, which will rise by 10 cents across the board for students, bringing an elementary student’s lunch to $2.75 and a middle school/high school student’s lunch to $2.90. Breakfast will cost $1.75 for all students. 

Adults will pay 15 cents more for lunch, up from $3.60 to $3.75, and adult breakfasts will rise from $2.20 to $2.50. Prices for students who qualify for reduced lunch will hold steady at $0.40, and reduced breakfasts will remain at $0.30. 

Federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds helped public schools nationwide offer free lunches to students during the COVID-19 pandemic. But that will not be the case in the 2022-23 school year, and Johnson said the price increase will help the district as its hot lunch fund handles increased food costs. She said she doesn’t expect the increases to become annual measures.

“We are healthy in that fund, but we want to stay that way,” Johnson said. “There’s a happy medium.” 

Other area school districts have also raised lunch prices this year for similar reasons, and Johnson presented a comparison sheet, showing Raymond Central’s new prices higher than those at Arlington and Fort Calhoun, but lower than Syracuse, Yutan and Ashland-Greenwood.

In other Raymond Central news, cash will no longer be a requirement for fans attending school activities this year. 

Johnson reported that new activities director Tony Kobza has proposed implementing Square mobile card readers at entrance gates and in concession stands. 

“It’s kind of a sign of the times,” Johnson said. “But we also looked at our potential to grow revenue, so this is kind of going to be a trial year.” 

Johnson said there is a cost to pay for the Square software, but she said Kobza plans to keep records of revenues from the new card readers to determine whether they generate a positive return on investment. 

“Nowadays, there’s not a lot of people that run with cash anymore,” Johnson said. “We’re going to introduce it and see how it works.”

Johnson also gave a short update on the next steps in the district’s work with BVH Architecture to decide whether to upgrade Raymond Central’s current facilities or to pursue a centralized campus with a new building on the district’s central site. Johnson said the next meeting with community members to discuss the district’s future will likely take place between mid-August and early September.

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