Cumberland County Schools will be increasing the price of its full-pay lunches by 50 cents to combat rising food and supply costs.

With food costs rising nationwide, Cumberland County Schools approved a measure that will raise the price of standard lunch by 50 cents at some of its schools.

“Cumberland County Schools (CCS) Child Nutrition has and continues to experience substantial increases in the cost of operating expenses, including food, supplies and labor,” Cumberland County Schools said in a release. “The average cost of preparing each meal has already increased by $0.73 since last year and is anticipated to continue increasing. For this reason, Child Nutrition submitted to the Board a meal price increase of $0.50 for full-pay students at non-CEP schools.”

Prices for lunch will not change at the Community Eligibility Provision schools in the district, which is approximately 73 percent of the schools. Those schools will keep providing breakfast and lunch at no charge to all students. The full list of CEP schools is available here.

For non-CEP schools, standard lunch price for full-pay elementary school students will be $2.65 now, while middle and high schoolers will be $2.75. Students with free lunch will still receive those for free, and students with reduced-priced lunch will still pay 40 cents.

CCS said the even with the cost increase, full-pay meals are 25 cents to $1 lower than comparable other districts in North Carolina.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offered multiple approvals and waivers that allowed school districts to provide free meals to all students without requiring families to qualify or submit school meal applications. The last of these USDA approvals and waivers will expire before the start of the 2022-2023 school year.”

The memorandum that was presented to the Board may be viewed here through the BoardDocs portal. For more information about CCS’ Child Nutrition Services and to find the free/reduced lunch application, please visit the Child Nutrition webpage.

Brandon Plotnick is a former sports journalist, now living in the digital space with interests all over the musical and pop culture map.