San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District board members voted Monday to enroll in a program that will provide every student in the district with free breakfast and lunch.
The Community Eligibility Provision program permits eligible schools to provide meal service to all students at no charge, regardless of economic status. A school qualifies for the program if there are enough students enrolled who receive SNAP benefits, are on Medicaid, are runaway or homeless.
Fifty-one percent of SMCISD students are included in that list in one way or another, which means all campuses are eligible for the program next school year.
The district says breakfast and lunch will be served to all enrolled students at no cost and parents won’t have to fill out an application to be part of the program.
“By the district allowing all students to have free meals, that just takes so much stress off us as parents,” said Lilia Montes who has two children who will soon be enrolled at SMCISD.
The program is federally-funded and provides free breakfast and lunch for school districts in low-income areas throughout the country. The district says it won’t have to pay a single dollar to run the program.
But just a few miles up the road, the story’s different. At Hays CISD, board members are looking at raising lunch prices. “Ten cents may sound like a little bit, we know that’s a lot of money and we know that expenses add up. If we had a choice we wouldn’t raise it at all,” said Hays CISD spokesperson Tim Savoy.
Since 2010, HCISD says it has consistently raised lunch prices to keep up with federal requirements. “As food prices go up, the reimbursement rate from the federal government goes up every year and then, of course, that takes the formula and the minimum required price for the lunch to go up as well,” said Savoy.
Because there are fewer low-income students at HCISD than SMCISD, the majority of HCISD school are not eligible for federal program to receive free meals.
The HCISD board is scheduled to vote on the lunch price increase at next weeks board meeting.
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