East Hawaii News

DOE: Meal Prices to Increase Next School Year

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Department of Education officials announced on Tuesday that breakfast and lunch prices at Hawai’i public schools will increase for the 2015-16 school year. DOE officials say it will be the first increase since 2011 and attribute the rise to higher food costs and agreed labor contract raises.

Tuesday’s decision falls in accordance with a 2009 state law that requires the DOE to charge at least half the cost of preparing the meals.

Public school lunch prices will rise by 25 cents and breakfast prices will see an increase of 10 cents, beginning in the Fall. Students who receive reduced lunch prices will not see a change in their price, which is currently 30 cents for breakfast and 40 cents for lunch. Student who receive free meals will also not experience an impact.

Below you will find the new costs:

Breakfast K-8: Currently, $1; SY 2015-16, $1.10


Breakfast 9-12: Currently, $1.10; SY 2015-16, $1.20

Breakfast (Second Meal and Adult): Currently, $2.20; SY 2015-16, $2.40

Lunch K-8: Currently, $2.25; SY 2015-16, $2.50

Lunch 9-12: Currently, $2.50; SY 2015-16, $2.75


Lunch (Second Meal and Adult): Currently, $5; SY 2015-16, $5.50

“In order for our schools to continue to provide quality meals for our students, the food we provide cannot be heavily processed,” said Dann Carlson, assistant superintendent for School Facilities and Support Services. “Serving nutritious food made by our staff is better for our students but it comes at a cost.”

More than 100,000 meals are served throughout the state at public schools daily during the school year, according to the DOE. Each meal served meets the U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines.

March 2011 was the last time that the DOE increased meal prices. Since then, the department has attempted to reduce the cost of school meals, including the use of a centralized vendor to leverage larger purchasing power for better prices.


According to the DOE, studies have shown that children who consume school lunches are more likely to consume milk, meats, grains, and vegetables than students who bring lunch from home. Additionally, those students tend to have higher nutrient intakes at lunch and over the course of the day.

Department officials say that it is the DOE’s priority to ensure that students are consuming nutritious meals that fuel both their learning and physical activities.

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