Students To No Longer Receive Free Meals

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WASHINGTON COUNTY Parents and students in Washington County will see the end of a popular program. The district put an end to free lunches. District officials say they could no longer afford the plan.

Last school year all students in Washington County ate for free. Next year, that will change.

"It just was not feasible for our district, being such a very small district.” said director of federal programs Dr. Bobby Dawson. “We do have a high percentage of socioeconomic, low socioeconomic status."

The Community Eligibility Provision Program grants free meals to districts if 40% of the student population qualifies for free meals. The district still qualifies, but the program was paying less than what students used to pay out of pocket.

"It would have slightly impacted us, because the few times she did eat at school this past year we didn't have to pay for that," said Jeremy Clifton.

Thursday night the school board will vote on next year's meal prices. Breakfast will be $1.10. Lunch will be $2.15 for elementary students, and $2.40 for middle and high school students.

During the first 30 days of next school year, students will still eat free lunch. During that time period parents must reapply for free or reduced lunch.

For Clifton, this change will impact more than a few families.

"Certainly, it will some, because you’re going from free to something you have to pay for," said Clifton.

Surprisingly Dawson says there wasn't much change.

"We did see a small increase, but it wasn't a huge amount. The students that are going to eat, eat and the students that don't care to eat in the cafeteria really don't eat."

If the board fails to approve the meal prices, they will still discontinue the free lunch program.