A U.S. Department of Agriculture provision will allow students from eligible school districts across the country, including Warren County schools, to receive school meals at no cost.
Robert Parker, Jr., Warren County Schools’ child nutrition director, presented an outline of the provision during the board of education’s June 10 regular monthly meeting. He reported that, due to the provision and the USDA’s new reimbursement system, Warren County Schools would be fully reimbursed for expenses related to student meals. That means that all Warren County students will receive free breakfasts, lunches and snacks during a four-year cycle to begin with the 2014-15 school year.
In the past, families were required to meet certain income eligibility standards in order for students to receive free or reduced price meals. However, the new USDA guideline, known as the Community Eligibility Provision of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, shifts eligibility requirements to school systems themselves.
To qualify, school systems must: meet a minimum level (40 percent) of identified students for free meals in the year prior to implementing the provision; agree to serve free lunches and breakfasts to all students; not collect free and reduced price applications from households in participating schools; and agree to cover with non-federal funds any costs of providing free meals to all students above amount provided in federal assistance.
Because Warren County Schools meets the provision’s requirements, it will be able to offer free meals for a four-year period, but must reapply after the 2017-18 school year.
Additional information will be available for parents as the 2014-15 academic year approaches.
The board unanimously approved a request by the Warren County Board of Commissioners to apply to use $62,436 in funding from the North Carolina Education Lottery for payment of debt related to Warren New Tech High School construction.
The most recent school system data indicates that a balance of $421,00 remains from a $610,000 loan used to finance first phase construction of the school.