With soaring raw material prices, many local authorities have decided to increase the prices of school canteens. This will be the case in particular for those of the schools of Perpignan and the colleges of the Pyrénées-Orientales from the start of the next school year.
Faced with inflation, many towns and communities have decided to revise school canteen prices upwards. In Perpignan, the city council decided to take the plunge on June 22. From 1 September next, the price of meals in the city’s school canteens will thus rise, for families not receiving family allowances, not to 3.90 euros, as was initially planned, but well at 4.04 euros.
“Prices must be updated due to significant changes in food prices, detailed the municipal councilor Charlotte Cailliez during the vote on the measure. To take this development into account, the Pyrénées-Méditerranée mixed syndicate (which notably supplies the canteens of Perpignan, Editor’s note) defined new prices charged to its 24 member municipalities. The City has decided to integrate this increase into all the rates applicable to families, regardless of their quotient bracket, through an increase which corresponds to an increase of 14 cents per meal consumed.
A political mistake
The LR opposition voted against this proposal, which was however adopted by a majority. “It seems complicated to me to increase the price of the canteen when families are also faced with inflationpleaded the opponent Bruno Nougayrède. The municipality could very easily compensate for the increase in foodstuffs. There are a number of operating expenses that you can control. But you prefer to charge this increase to families, including the most modest. It’s a political mistake.”
The first deputy, Charles Pons, retorted that the RN municipality was not “not responsible for the surge in inflation”. Charlotte Cailliez specifies for her part that with the system, already in place, of decreasing prices according to family income, the most modest will only have to pay 2 euros per meal.
+ 4.5% in colleges
On the side of the colleges of the Catalan country too, the increase in canteen prices has just been recorded. During its session on Thursday June 30, the county council, which is managing the file, decided to raise the price of the meal to 3.45 euros, an increase of 15 cents from the start of the next school year. “For nine years, we had not changed the price. We were at 2.80 euros per meal, emphasizes the vice-president of the community in charge of colleges, the socialist Marie-Pierre Sadourny. In 2018, we decided, in consultation with the managers of establishments, to go to 3.30 euros and then to increase by 5 cents every two years to stay within market prices. In the end, we didn’t because of the health crisis. There, after four more years without an increase, we decided to apply an increase of 4.5%, which corresponds to inflation.
Over one year, the increase will represent approximately 21 euros more to be paid by families. However, in order to limit the impact as much as possible for the most modest, the Department has added 20 euros to the school catering check from which scholarship students benefit.
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In the other municipalities of the department
On the side of Prades, nothing is done yet. However, according to the services of the community of communes of Conflent, which manages the canteens on the territory, a decision should be taken in the coming days. “To be as fair as possible, we harmonize the prices of meals from kindergarten to college, we say on the side of the youth childhood service. The elected officials must still consult each other. But we will certainly have to follow the Department which has just increased prices in college canteens by 4.5%.
In Ceret, on the other hand, the canteen will not increase at the start of the school year. So decided this Tuesday, July 5, the inter-school union (SIS) in charge of the canteens of the community of municipalities of Vallespir (with the exception of that of Maureillas). “We have already gone from 43.50 to 45 euros per month last year, recalls the president of the SIS, Géraldine Bourdin, who points out that with the help of the municipal center for social action, this price drops to 9 euros per month for the most modest families. For now, the increase decided last year is enough. And if the delta becomes too large, we can also play on the participation of the municipalities. This is the option that we will study as a priority so that the service remains accessible.”
Udsis, which supplies the canteens of a large part of the schools in the department, has also not planned an increase for the start of the school year. However, taking into account the inflation recorded in 2021, the price per meal has increased from 3.86 euros last year to 3.92 euros in 2022. “The increase in the price of raw materials since then will inevitably have an impact, predicts the president of Udsis, Jean Roque. But so far, we haven’t passed it on. We remain on 3.92 euros. We will see by the end of the year what to do.” Note: even if the Udsis blocks its prices for the moment, the communities that buy meals from it can very well revise their resale price upwards if they wish. However, this is not the case with the Syndicat interscolaire d’Argeles-sur-Merwhich does not foresee an increase by the end of 2022.