MISSOULA - You're not the only one coping with the high prices at the grocery store. Missoula County Public Schools (MCPS) leaders are also struggling with increasing costs, and are considering rising the prices for school meals.
MCPS last raised the breakfast and lunch rates by a quarter in 2019. While costs kept climbing during the early stages of the pandemic, some of those expenses were offset by waivers which allowed the district to give free meals.
However, those COVID-19 impact waivers through the state Office of Public Instruction expired on June 30. And now, the district is getting slammed with higher prices.
In a memo to trustees, administrators say the district's Food and Nutrition Services is seeing a 15%-to-20% increase in food costs, a 78% in fuel costs and a 7% wage increase for employees over the past year.
To help minimize the impacts, trustees are being asked to approve a .25¢ increase in school meal prices for the coming school year.
If the board approves the plan next week, elementary students would begin paying $2 for breakfast and $3 for lunch.
Middle school and high school students would pay $2.25 for breakfast and $3.25 for lunch.