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School lunches will no longer be free for all students

Posted at 4:40 AM, Aug 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-16 09:43:42-04

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — As kids head back to school, parents should be aware school meals are no longer free for all students.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture allowed schools to provide breakfast and lunch to all students at no cost. Now that the pandemic evolved, they are going back to how things used to be.

This school year families will have to go back to applying for free and reduced school lunches to see if they qualify.

“We’ve been used to the last couple of years breakfast and lunch being completely free year-round,” said Amanda Grace.

Grace has two kids in the Broken Arrow school district. With this change, her family now has to figure out what option is the most cost-effective for them as inflation remains high.

“It’s a matter of just preparing for those expenses again and making sure that we budget that cost to prepare to pay for their lunches and breakfast, if they are doing that, or planning at home for us to pack their lunches ahead of time,” She said.

Broken Arrow Public Schools says it will cost $90 to $95 a month per child for breakfast and lunch at their schools.

“We understand that parents are going to have challenges with adding this extra bill when things are already high in cost for them,” said Rosalyn Vann-Jackson the district's chief support services officer.

That’s why they encourage everyone to apply. The district says a common misconception about eligibility is that it’s based solely on income but the household size is also a factor.

“So let's say that you reside in a home and you have your mother and father-in-law or your parents that reside with you, those two additional parties, in addition to maybe a four household family in regards to the income could then put you in status and make you eligible for free and reduced lunch,” said Vann-Jackson.

If you do qualify, there are additional benefits that you could receive.

“Then you also may qualify for reduced technology costs and internet access for your entire home,” said Vann-Jackson.

Plus, she says the district benefits from increased state and federal aid. Knowing that Grace plans to apply for free and reduced lunches and encourages others to do the same.

“Even if a family doesn’t qualify all families should submit their applications so that we continue to get the funding that our school district needs," Grace said.

BAPS suggests families complete the application by September 21st to ensure it is processed and approved by October 1st.You can submit an application on this website.

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