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      Quincy School District prepares for higher food costs

      The Quincy School District is preparing to shell out more money for food this school year.The school board tonight approved bids for milk, bread, food and non-food prices, which all increased from the previous year. Those bids went to Prairie Farms Dairy, Interstate Brands, Fox River Foods and Kohl Wholesale respectively.The board approved a hike in student's meal costs a few months ago to cover a seven percent increase in school lunches.Jean Kinder says Quincy Public Schools will offer more fruits, vegetables and whole grains."We're really excited about our menu changes but those healthier foods do cost more," Jean Kinder, director of Food Services said "So while the price of meals did go up a few months ago, parents are going to be getting more bang for their buck."

      The increase is due to the federal government's new Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act which mandates schools to provide more servings of fruits and vegetables starting this year.

      "In anticipation for the increase cost of the food, we did raise meal prices just a few months ago for this coming school year. For both the elementary and high school levels, prices have gone up a quarter.So for 6th grade and below, lunch is $2, and for junior high and high school, it's $2.25," said Kinder.

      Click here to read the official mandate from the United States Department of Agriculture .

      Earlier this year, the U.S Department of Agriculture released new guidelines recently designed to improve the health and nutrition of nearly 32 million students in the country. Click here to see the letter to school officials.

      Officials hope it will help address the childhood obesity problem.

      Click here for Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs .

      The new guidelines require more whole grains and calorie limits for school meals.

      It also mandates more and larger servings of fruits and vegetables.

      All milk served has to be low fat or nonfat.

      These changes are expected to raise the prices of providing meals, though the federal government is also increasing its reimbursement rate by a couple of cents per meal.

      Click here to see the mandates of nutrition per week from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.The Quincy School Board also went into executive session Wednesday night to discuss a possible agreement with the Service Employees' International Union.