Thursday, July 21, 2011

USDA Releases School Meal Reimbursement Rates For School Year 2011-2012

US Schools offering students free lunches under the National School Lunch Program will get just five cents more per meal for the 2011-2012 school year, according to USDA's school lunch reimbursement rates, released on Wednesday and effective as of July 1.

President Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act into law in December 2010, which provides the first increase in the reimbursement rate since the 1970s. The proposed new nutrition standards are here, but USDA has not yet issued a final rule.

The increases in the national average reimbursement rates for schools over the period July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012 reflect a 2.18% increase in the Consumer Price Index over the last 12 months. The dairy industry gets a nice boost from the federal nutrition programs: The prices for reimbursement of dairy products has increased to reflect the 16.55% jump in the Producer Price Index for Fluid Milk Products from May 2010 to May 2011. The rate of reimbursement for a half-pint of milk served to a non-needy child in a school that participates in the Special Milk Program is 20.50 cents.

Free lunches will be reimbursed at $2.77 per meal in the 48 contiguous states, an increase of five cents from last school year. Reduced price lunch reimbursement is now $2.37, up from $2.28. The federal reimbursement rate for paid lunch is $0.26.

1 cent increase for breakfast...
Paid breakfast reimbursement rates increased by one cent to $0.27. In non-severe need school districts, the free breakfast reimbursement rate is now $1.51 and reduced-price breakfast is now $1.21. In severe need districts, free breakfast is now $1.80 and reduced-price breakfast is $1.50.

Commodity foods...
For USDA commodity foods, when computed on the basis of unrounded data and rounded to the nearest one-quarter cent, the resulting national average for the coming school year will be 22.25 cents per meal. This is an increase of two cents from the previous school year rate.

Adjustments to the national average payment rates for all lunches served under the National School Lunch Program, breakfasts served under the School Breakfast Program, and after school snacks served under the National School Lunch Program are rounded down to the nearest whole cent.

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