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Loss Prompts Changes In Hannibal Meal Prices

HANNIBAL, NY – The bottom line of Hannibal’s food service program showed a sizeable deficit at the end of the 2007-08 school year.

As a result, parents can expect to see an increase breakfast and lunch prices for their children in the coming year.

Superintendent Michael DiFabio said that the Hannibal Board of Education hosted a lengthy discussion on the topic during the recent meeting.

“The board finds it difficult to add costs for community members,” DiFabio said. “But the program has to be self sustaining. With the state cutbacks in reimbursements and the losses the program saw last year, … it was necessary.”

DiFabio noted that the district’s costs to provide meals continue to rise.

“Everything costs more,” he said. “One of our vendors charges $20 just to stop at the building and we have three buildings.”

“It is lining up to be a difficult year to provide nutritious lunch and breakfast for our students but we will keep working at it,” he said. “It is a delicate balancing act.”

DiFabio said that a consultant brought in to review the program.

“The consultant was brought in to see what we could improve,” he said. “It is always good to have an outside source looking over how things are done.”

The recommendations that came through that study suggested that the board raise the price of lunches by 10-cents at Fairley Elementary School and by 15-cents at the Kenney Middle School and high school. No changes were recommended for breakfast costs.

Ultimately, the board opted to raise prices slightly higher than the recommendations, DiFabio said. The increases charged in the fall will include:

Lunch

  • 15-cents at the high school, bringing the price to $1.80
  • 20-cents at the middle school, bringing the price to $1.80
  • 15-cents at the elementary school, bringing the price to $1.70

Breakfast

  • 20-cents at the high school, bringing the total to $1.25
  • 10-cents at the elementary and middle schools, bringing the total to $1

“There was no change in milk prices for the coming year,” he said.

DiFabio noted that there are no contributions from the general fund to support the food service program. Any deficits have been covered by a small reserve fund that the program has built through the years.

“Last year, they had a $15,000 negative balance that cut into the reserve,” he said. Before that, the reserve stood at approximately $50,000.

Even with the increases in the coming year, DiFabio said there are “no great glimmers of hope” that the food service program will break even next year.

“But we hope to keep losses to a minimum,” he said.

With the cuts in the state aid from what was anticipated for the coming year, DiFabio said that the district is feeling the affects everywhere.

“We are receiving approximately $1 million less than we anticipated,” he said. “Basically, we are still in crisis mode and trying to get through.”