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Central Texas school district explains why some students won’t receive free-and-reduced lunches

Rollback proposed for Michelle Obama school lunch guidelines
Posted at 3:14 PM, Aug 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-02 00:31:19-04

Central Texas school districts are taking another step toward pre-pandemic life and it may hit some families harder than others.

For the better part of two-years, parents didn’t have to worry about whether or not their child was going to get lunch at school.

Funding provided by Congress during the pandemic allowed schools to provide free lunch to every student but that isn't happening this year.

”United States Department of Agriculture allowed us to serve free meals during the COVID pandemic,” said Steven Smith, Director of School Nutrition, Killeen ISD. “This year it is changing back to what we’ve regularly known as the National School Lunch Program.”

Meaning families will once again have to apply for free or reduced lunches and hope they qualify to receive it.

”If they’re economically disadvantaged or they’re provided assistance through SNAP or food stamps, then they automatically qualify," said Smith. "Or if they have low income, that also qualifies them as a family.”

While some families will qualify, not providing free lunch to all students isn’t a move that is sitting well with some parents.

”Not because I can’t afford to pay. Thank god I am able to afford it and have the money for my children, but I know many families have to struggle,” said Zoila Rezinos, KISD Parent. “Especially in this financial situation.”

Parents like Rezinos see districts spending massive amounts to build new schools and feel that money could be better spent on things like free meals.

”We could be using that money to help our children that we don't know the financial situation of and making sure these kids eat at least,” said Rezinos.

While all parents are encouraged to apply for free or reduced lunch, some campuses won’t require it.

”Now there are some campuses that are eligible under the Community Eligibility Provision,” said Smith. “There are 28 campuses that allow for us to serve all student free breakfast and free lunch.”

If your campus does require your family to apply there is one change from past years, if you qualify for reduced and not free lunch, you will still receive free meals.