Possible school meal price hike

BISMARCK, N.D. - The Bismarck school district is considering raising school meal prices next school year.

According to the school district, Bismarck Public Schools are among the lowest in the state for school meal prices. And while administrators say keeping them where they are is ideal, there are upcoming costs to plan for.

Here's kind of the wild card in the game; we do a pretty good job with planning. We know that we're probably gonna be setting okay if we look at trends if we do the same volumes that we've done. The problem is some of the prices that we see, we can't control," said Darin Scherr, BPS business and operations manager

That same model, along with a positive balance at the end of 2018, led to BPS opting to not raise meal prices.

In elementary schools, they are second-lowest only to Grand Forks; cashing in 50 to 65 cents lower than the highest in the state. BPS ranges 10 to 25 cents cheaper than the state average per meal.

At the moment, there's no set amount prices would increase.

“We don't just arbitrarily say 'it's been five years, let's raise the price.' We just do it when needed. We don't want to make money in that program, but we also don't want to lose money," Scherr said.

If the increase is confirmed, it will be the third price hike in the last six years. Meals increased 25 to 50 cents in total over that time span.

In Bismarck, the cafeteria is considered a separate entity from the rest of the school. So the only funds for food, equipment, and staff salaries come from meal purchases.