BARAGA - The Baraga Area Schools Board of Education debated at length, and eventually approved, increases in meal prices during Monday's regular meeting.
The increases are based on a reimbursement calculator from the United States Department of Agriculture, and with $12,357.35 in additional projected costs (up to $35,327), the district will charge more to students and adults.
Kindergarten through sixth grade lunches will increase from $1.40 to $2.40, grades seven through 12 from $1.75 to $2.80 and adults from $3 to $4.
"I think that's a very steep jump for one year," said board member Bill Jondreau, who suggested external funding sources to offset increases.
After researching the matter while the board discussed additional agenda items, secretary Michele Velmer said the USDA essentially required the increase regardless of the funding source.
"I still think we can offset it," said Jondreau, who cast the lone "no" vote on the price increase.
"There will be changes in the menu," superintendent Jennifer Lynn said, adding that drought conditions are increasing food costs across the country, and the healthier standards by the state cost more.
The district will have a salad bar this year, and it is required to adhere to strict state guidelines on caloric intake and other health factors.
"I know people are going to complain, but what else can we do?" asked board member Tracey Barrett.
The board had not projected any price increases based off the local bread and milk quotes approved at the July 9 meeting, but the USDA is requiring the change to comply with funding guidelines.
Velmer noted that students and families who cannot afford the increase can fill out a form to qualify for free and reduced lunches at any time during the school year.
The board also increased athletic prices for the 2012-13 school year, but not to the same degree as food prices.
Adult tickets for all junior varsity and varsity games will increase by $1 for single-game tickets - from $4 to $5 for basketball, volleyball, track and football, and from $3 to $4 for JV football.
Junior high season ticket and student prices remain the same.
"It's just a little uptick at the gates without being cumbersome to our loyal fans," Lynn said.