MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Lunchroom monitors in Alabama are watching students' plates a little closer these days to make sure no one's biting off more than they can chew.
Officials say with food and fuel costs on the rise, school systems across the country are increasing the prices for lunches, modifying menus, paring down portions and making sure kids aren't wasting food.
The School Nutrition Association estimates that at least 100 school districts nationwide raised their school lunch prices in April alone, according to unofficial surveys and anecdotal information from members of the organization, based in Alexandria, Va.
Perry Fulton is director of child nutrition programs for the Alabama Department of Education. He says he has heard from several systems that already have increased meal prices or plan to next year.
And, he says, virtually all systems are making changes to cut down on costs.
The School Nutrition Association says the average cost to produce lunches this school year ranges from $2.70-$3.10, with the federal government giving schools 23 cents toward each paid lunch $2.07 for each reduced lunch and $2.47 for each free lunch.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)