By CAROLINE MURRAY
BROADALBIN -- Broadalbin-Perth High School students will find themselves scraping together an extra 20 cents to purchase a school lunch this September.
At a board of education meeting last week, officials passed a resolution approving food service prices. High school lunch rates increased from $2.55 to $2.75; all other rates remained the same.
Superintendent Steven Tomlinson said the 20-cent raise is a result of pulling the high school from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National School Lunch Program because of newly added food restrictions.
"We don't want that at the high school because the requirements are so stringent," Tomlinson said.
Last month, food service supervisor George Hanstein presented the department's updated nutritional standards to the board, and weighed the financial effect it would have on the high school.
Under the new guidelines, all foods served within the school district -- not just lunches -- have to abide by the new nutritional standards.
That includes food sold in the high school's a la carte lunch line, school stores and vending machines.
Hanstein said by enforcing such guidelines, the high school will incur additional food waste, the elimination of vending machines, and fewer purchased lunches.
He suggested opting out of the program and Tomlinson agreed.
"Turning away funding means we don't have to follow guidelines," Tomlinson said.
The Learning Center, Intermediate School and Middle School are still enrolled in the program.
Tomlinson said district officials will also still submit applications for high school students who qualify for free and reduced-price lunches.
He said applications determine the district's poverty level, and omitting the high school's submissions would cause the district to lose out on funding.
"The poverty level is directly tied to the federal funding we get," Tomlinson said. "I made sure George took that into consideration."
The difference is, the high school will not receive federal reimbursement for those students.
Instead, the district will cover the cost for kids who qualify for free and reduced-price lunches. The 20-cent raise compensates for the loss of aid.
Tomlinson reassured the board that students will still get nutritional foods, but this eliminates the hassle of removing all the vending machines from the high school, along with the other restrictive guidelines.
"We just don't want our hands tied," he said.