The federal government is now requiring kids to pay for school lunches

MONROE COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI)- For the past few years parents have been sending their students off to school knowing that lunch costs were covered.

That’s because lunch was free for all public school students during the pandemic.

This year, schools are having to let parents know that they might have to give the kids some lunch money before they pack them off to class.

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, the government found ways to help families manage financially.

One of those was to provide free lunches to public school students.

“In the last couple of years with Covid it was pretty simple everybody got free lunches and there was really no form to fill out or an application to go through it was just a blanket policy that was kind of there to offset the cost so it was simply for the past few years. if you were a student you qualified for free lunch,” said O’Brian.

But this year it’s not that simple.

The federal government is rolling back that policy, and once again requiring parents to apply for free or reduced lunches.

Superintendent of Monroe County School district Chad O’Brian says a few dollars may not seem like much, but it does start to add up.

“when you look at school lunches, even though they’re not expensive, the majority of families probably have multiple children at school, and even if it’s something as simple as between the students, or even if you have three or more it multiplies. but if you just have 2, 5 dollars a day runs into a little bit of a bill on a monthly basis,” said O’Brian.

Superintendent O’Brian says his goal is to let parents know as soon as possible, so they can be aware of the situation and plan for the new school year.

” I think the thing with us is that we try to be out in front of it information-wise. we don’t want to catch anybody by surprise and we don’t want to have an I gotcha moment with our parents so we are just trying to be proactive and get out in front of the issue and get information out to our parents and let them know this change is coming back into affect so people can plan and budget accordingly, ” said O’Brian.

O’Brian also encourages all parents to sign a free and reduced lunch form for their students, even if you think they aren’t eligible the results may surprise you.

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