DALLAS – To meet rising operational costs and comply with federal law, school lunch prices will increase by 25 cents at Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools outside the continental United States (OCONUS), excluding Guam, for the 2018-19 school year.
The increase will apply to both elementary and secondary students, making the new lunch prices $3 and $3.25 respectively. Families qualifying for the Free and Reduced Meal Program will not see a cost increase. Per federal guidelines, the price of a reduced-price meal will remain 40 cents.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (Public Law 111-296) requires DoDEA schools, as participants in the United States Department of Agriculture meal program, to raise paid student lunch prices to a level comparable to the rates used for USDA reimbursement. To meet this requirement, prices in OCONUS schools will be gradually increased over the coming years.
Every year, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service’s school meal program provides 2.6 million lunches to Warfighters’ children at 78 Department of Defense schools in Europe and the Pacific. The Exchange provides affordable school lunches as a service to the military community, pricing each meal, on average, approximately $2 below the actual cost of $5.25 per plate. DoDEA and USDA reimburse the Exchange for direct costs of the school meal program not recouped by sales.
Nutritional standards for Exchange student meals are set by the Exchange’s registered dietitian in accordance with USDA guidelines. All menu items are baked and never fried, and meals must have zero grams of trans fat. Additionally, all breads, buns, dinner rolls, rice, macaroni, spaghetti pasta, tortillas and entrée breading are rich in whole grains (made with at least 50 percent whole grain flour). All meals served must include a fruit or vegetable and adhere to nutrient standards for calories, sodium and fat for different age groups.
For more information on the Exchange’s school meal program, visit http://www.aafes.com/about-exchange/school-lunch-program.