Guam – The Department of Education receives $9.2 Million in funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the school lunch program but that figure is based on the cost of feeding students in the contiguous 48 states.
A study being conducted by the UOG Extension Office will determine the cost of food on Guam so that DOE can ask for more funds.
“We are an isolated economy,” UOG Extension Office Agent and Project Lead Peter Barcinas said noting the higher cost of food on Guam. “A lot of things are imported so all the indirect references to any kind of effort that goes into supporting a meal program has to be carefully broken down and in the right category to show where are these variable costs and other costs issues affected.”
The UOG Extension Office is currently conducting a Household Income and Expenditures Survey. That survey will update the Consumer Price and Food Index which is currently based on a survey thats five years old.
“Part of this whole process is to evaluate the costs issues associated with the meals provided daily to the school kids that participate and how does this reflect on household income 1because kids that participate on school lunch also have their families struggling with the same price issues on food” Barcinas explained.
Survey takers will be visiting a random sample of household throughout Guam in order to conduct the study. Barcinas says it takes about an hour to complete the survey but participants will also be asked to keep a diary of their purchases.
“We leave the diary with the home,” Barcinas said. “We encourage them to complete it.”
Barcinas says all personal information collected in the survey will be kept confidential.