The Floyd County Board of Education voted at their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday to end the free lunch program, returning to a traditional paid and reduced lunch program. They will be keeping the free breakfast program.
The recommendation was made after it was made apparent that there was a lack of funding to the Community Eligibility program, which was supposed to reimburse the school system for the meals it gave out. The CEP program will end on Dec. 31 and at the start of the year the new lunch prices will be as follows: Elementary school student lunches will be $2.25, middle and high school student lunches will be $2.50 and the reduced rate for K-12 students who are eligible will be $.40.
“We hate to see this program go, but are proud to say we served over 5 million meals and snacks to students at no charge over the last two and a half years,” said FCS Deputy Superintendent April Childers. “We are here to provide support to all families needing to fill out the application to ensure eligible students are still served meals and snacks at no charge.”
“We will be flexible for the first few months, no child will be without a meal,” Superintendent Jeff Wilson said. “We won't be taking a meal from a child's hands.”
Free and reduced lunch recipients will be determined by family income and size from January on, as well as other exceptional circumstances. Foster children under the legal responsibility of foster care agencies or the court are also eligible as are participants in the Head Start Program. Children may receive free or reduced price meals if their household’s income is within the limits on the Federal Income chart. Finally children who meet the definition of homeless, runaway, or migrant are eligible for the free meal program.
To see the full chart visit www.floydboe.net and click on the release labeled FCS Continues Free Breakfast and Announces Lunch Rates. There will also be an alert box shown on the screen which will redirect families who need to fill out an application to the proper form. Additional forms will be available in all FCS offices if access to the internet is limited.
According to the Floyd BOE website, multiple applications per family will not be required. The sites frequently asked questions page suggested that one application can be filled out per family regardless of how many kids are in the school system.
Parents and guardians have the option to complete a paper or online application. The online application is available on the Floyd BOE website. Paper applications will be sent home with students. If an application was approved last year, there is no guarantee the applicant will not have to reapply, so parents should contact FCS to check. Also applications need to be processed as soon as possible to make sure no child is without a lunch when the program ends at the end of the year.
This decision was one the Floyd BOE discussed extensively since they were made aware that the Food Service Program was not self-sufficient due to a lack of funding. The school system fell beneath the percentage needed to receive enough reimbursement from the state causing the school system to lose around $500,000 last school year. The school board said Tuesday they will revisit the issue next school year if the percentages of students who qualify for the program reach what the state requires for the reimbursements. They did vote to keep the free breakfast program at the system’s expense in order to make sure every student has a good meal to start the day.
Floyd County Schools contributed to this report