Lowndes Co. school lunch program ends for some schools
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Last school year, students at Lowndes County Schools didn’t have to pay for lunch and breakfast but that’s about to change.
Lowndes County School System was operating under a USDA waiver that kept parents from paying for students to eat lunch and breakfast but as of June 30, that waiver expired for some schools. Now it’s for all of them.
“We found out that we were no longer going to get the free lunches,” said Keely Frech, a parent of two Lowndes County students. “We are zoned west side and Hahira, but what was confusing was that the southside schools within the same district were going to continue to get the free lunches and I just didn’t understand that and didn’t think it was fair.”
According to the state board of education’s page on USDA’s school lunch program, the base funding for schools is on the percentage of economically disadvantaged students.
The price for an elementary student to eat breakfast and lunch could cost a parent $80- $90 a month.
Parents who don’t qualify or have several children say that cost adds up.
“What is good for one school should be good for the rest of the county, so for example if the southside Lowndes Middle School, Lake Park Moulton-Branch, if they’re continuing to get the free lunches, then Hahira, Westside, Dewar those schools on the north side of town should also get that same extension,” Frech said.
Some parents said they are thankful the rates didn’t go up with the current inflation.
“I honestly don’t feel like it’ll affect us because we were paying that pre-pandemic, so we’ll go back to paying the same rate, although the prices have gone up for the system. We feel appreciative that they have not passed that on to our students and families,” said Julie Klein, a Lowndes County parent.
Even though prices are the same before COVID, with inflation going on, this can still be hard for some parents.
“With inflation cost for our food has increased, however, we are not passing that along to our families because we realize they have so many other costs that have increased. So They will pay whatever price they paid before the pandemic,” said Lowndes County Assistant Superintendent Sandra Wilcher.
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