New York

City raising school lunch prices for the first time in 10 years

Students will pay $1.75 a day for lunch, up from $1.50. But students whose family income makes them eligible for a price reduction will no longer have to pay anything, according to this week’s Principals Weekly, a bulletin that goes out to the city’s more than 1,700 school leaders.

Mayor Bloomberg’s budget plan originally called for the school lunch price to rise to $2.50.

From the Principals Weekly:

The price of school lunch will change in two important ways beginning on September 30:

§  Students who are eligible to pay reduced-price for lunch will receive lunch for free. Your school will no longer need to collect any lunch fees from students eligible for reduced-price lunch.

§  Students who pay full-price for lunch will pay $1.75, up from $1.50. 

Before these changes go into effect on September 30, students should pay in accordance with their meal status from the 2012-13 school year (i.e. students who were eligible for free lunch during the 2012-13 school year should receive free lunch until September 30; students who were eligible for reduced-price lunch during the 2012-13 school year should receive lunch at a reduced price of $0.25 until September 30; students who were not eligible for free or reduced-price lunch during the 2012-13 school year should receive lunch at a price of $1.50 until September 30).

You should begin planning now to inform families of these changes using this letter (translations are here). If your school is planning to send any general school opening information home to families prior to the start of the school year, you should plan to include the letter (and a meal application, if possible) in the mailing. If your school is not planning to send any communications to families prior to the start of the school year, you should plan to backpack the letter and a meal application home with students during the first week of school. Note that meal applications (and most translated applications) were delivered to your school in June.

Beginning next week, families can submit meal applications online at Because students who have been eligible for reduced-price lunch in prior years will receive lunch for free when these changes go into effect on September 30, you should highlight that it is more important than ever before for families to complete the meal application. Families should apply online or return completed meal applications to your office by September 30.

You may find the following background information helpful if you receive questions from families about the changes, and you may opt to share this FAQ with your parent coordinator to help respond to questions from families:

§  The price of lunch has remained constant at $1.50 since 2003. This is the first price increase in ten years.

§  Meal costs have risen significantly over the last ten years as food and labor prices have increased and as efforts to improve the healthfulness and taste of food have been implemented; current lunch fee proceeds no longer cover the cost of lunches served.

§  Federal nutrition guidelines have increased the amount of food that students are served, doubling portion requirements in many cases.

§  Breakfast continues to be free for all students.

What's Your Education Story?

As the 2018 school year begins, join us for storytelling from Indianapolis educators

PHOTO: Dylan Peers McCoy/Chalkbeat
Sarah TeKolste, right, and Lori Jenkins at a Teacher Story Slam, in April.

In partnership with Teachers Lounge Indy, Chalkbeat is hosting another teacher story slam this fall featuring educators from across the city.

Over the past couple of years, Chalkbeat has brought readers personal stories from teachers and students through the events. Some of our favorites touched on how a teacher won the trust of her most skeptical student, why another teacher decided to come out to his students, and one educator’s call to ramp up the number of students pursuing a college education.

The event, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, is free and open to the public — please RSVP here.

Event details:

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018
Tube Factory artspace
1125 Cruft St., Indianapolis, IN 46203
Get tickets here and find more on Facebook

More in What's Your Education Story?

School safety

Hiring more security officers in Memphis after school shootings could have unintended consequences

PHOTO: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Tennessee’s largest district, Shelby County Schools, is slated to add more school resource officers under the proposed budget for next school year.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson earmarked $2 million to hire 30 school resource officers in addition to the 98 already in some of its 150-plus schools. The school board is scheduled to vote on the budget Tuesday.

But an increase in law enforcement officers could have unintended consequences.

A new state law that bans local governments from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials could put school resource officers in an awkward position.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen recently reminded school personnel they are not obligated to release student information regarding immigration status. School resource officers employed by police or sheriff’s departments, however, do not answer to school districts. Shelby County Schools is still reviewing the law, but school board members have previously gone on the record emphasizing their commitment to protecting undocumented students.

“Right now we are just trying to get a better understanding of the law and the impact that it may have,” said Natalia Powers, a district spokeswoman.

Also, incidents of excessive force and racial bias toward black students have cropped up in recent years. Two white Memphis officers were fired in 2013 after hitting a black student and wrestling her to the ground because she was “yelling and cussing” on school grounds. And mothers of four elementary school students recently filed a lawsuit against a Murfreesboro officer who arrested them at school in 2016 for failing to break up a fight that occurred off-campus.

Just how common those incidents are in Memphis is unclear. In response to Chalkbeat’s query for the number and type of complaints in the last two school years, Shelby County Schools said it “does not have any documents responsive to this request.”

Currently, 38 school resource officers are sheriff’s deputies, and the rest are security officers hired by Shelby County Schools. The officers respond and work to prevent criminal activity in all high schools and middle schools, Hopson said. The 30 additional officers would augment staffing at some schools and for the first time, branch out to some elementary schools. Hopson said those decisions will be based on crime rates in surrounding neighborhoods and school incidents.

Hopson’s initial recommendation for more school resource officers was in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and sparked a wave of student activism on school safety, including in Memphis.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s recent $30 million budget boost would allow school districts across Tennessee to hire more law enforcement officers or improve building security. Measures to arm some teachers with guns or outlaw certain types of guns have fallen flat.

For more on the role and history of school resource officers in Tennessee, read our five things to know.

Sheriff’s deputies and district security officers meet weekly, said Capt. Dallas Lavergne of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. When the Memphis Police Department pulled their officers out of school buildings following the merger of city and county school systems, the county Sheriff’s Office replaced them with deputies.

All deputy recruits go through school resource officer training, and those who are assigned to schools get additional annual training. In a 2013 review of police academies across the nation, Tennessee was cited as the only state that had specific training for officers deployed to schools.