Thursday, August 2, 2007

Dryden Cafeteria

My conservative pal Cliff Norte has a letter to the editor today, complaining about the fact that the BOE failed to raise lunch prices to help combat the deficit. I voted to raise 'em, because I think it's nuts not to take every opportunity to increase revenue when you're in the hole to the tune of $200K+. However, the majority of the board decided to wait another year to see whether recent changes in the lunch program would affect the bottom line. Something about the addition of tasty and healthful wraps to the menu causing kids who would otherwise sneak off campus and go to McDonalds to cough up the $ for an in-school lunch. Good luck with that, I say.


Mary Ann said...

Hmmm... I'm thinking the kids who are sneaking off campus are not doing it for tasty, healthful wraps. On the other hand, they're not doing it to save $ either.

Then, too, there are the elementary and middle school kids who don't have the option of sneaking off. How much do school lunches cost these days? How may kids are on the free and reduced price meal programs? Does the subsidy for those meals cover the cost?

I know you (and Mr Norte) know that raising prices does not always increase revenue. Is there a sense that selling more meals will help the bottom line?

KAZ said...

Dryden charges $2 for lunch at the MS/HS and $1.75 at the ES. Breakfast is $1 across the board. This puts us about in the middle of the pack--Groton and South Seneca are a quarter cheaper, Lansing is 10 cents more at the MS/HS and 15 cents less at the ES (but more for breakfast), Tburg and Ithaca are 25 cents more (and 75 cents more for breakfast at the MS/HS). Milk is 50 cents here, as it is in Tburg, Ithaca, and Lansing. It's 5 cents less in Newfield and South Seneca, 15 cents less in Groton. Our free-and-reduced number is 36%, compared to 17% for Lansing and 50% for South Seneca. We're working on signing up more eligible families, because that number affects our percentage of state aid.

The deficit has little to do with costs or sales. It has to do with personnel and the fact that Dryden pays benefits to part-time workers. It has to do with trucking meals from the MS to the small schools, which isn't going to change. Nevertheless, raising lunch prices by a quarter could bring in an additional $20K annually.

Finally, there's no evidence to suggest that the last time we raised prices (6 years ago, I think?), kids stopped buying lunch.