School meal prices increase

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

School meal prices increaseStudents buying meals at school this term will see a 25-cent increase in prices.

According to Kristen Groves, director of the Sierra Sands Unified School District Superintendent nutrition program, student prices for breakfast will be $2 each for elementary schoolers and $2.25 for middle- and high-schoolers. The cost of lunch will increase to $3 and $3.25, respectively.

Adults will now pay $3 for breakfast and $4 for lunch.

The cost of reduced-priced meals will remain at 30 cents for breakfast and 40 cents for lunch.

Groves said that government codes mandate that child nutrition services must pay for themselves, and programs are required to have a three-month net cash reserve. Failure to comply could leave the district subject to a corrective action plan.

The cost increase was approved at the June 20 meeting of the SSUSD Board of Education.

The district has not had an increase in meal prices since 2016. “We filed an exemption for this last year that was approved by the state,” said Groves.

Although enrollment figures for the current year are not yet available, 5,189 students were enrolled in Sierra Sands at the end of May.

With the closure of seventh- and eighth-grade programs at REALMS (formerly the Ridgecrest Charter School), Sierra Sands is anticipating an uptick in enrollment this year.

Last year, a total 2,125 students in the district qualified for free meals, and 263 students qualified for reduced-price meals. The district sold an average of 2,070 lunches and 1,160 breakfasts daily.

Groves noted that the price increases will impact only Burroughs High School, Murray Middle School, Las Flores Elementary School and Richmond Elementary School. All of the other sites still serve free breakfast and lunch to all students who request it, with reimbursements available through the Community Eligibility Provision.

To apply for free or reduced meals, see

Story First Published: 2019-08-09