GRAVETTE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — For the past two years, parents haven’t had to worry about paying for their kids’ school meals thanks to federal funding.
Now, that pandemic-era waiver has ended and local school districts such as Gravette Public Schools are having to make changes.
Sheila Roughton, the Child Nutrition Director for Gravette Public Schools, said the district will have to increase each meal cost by ten cents. She said other factors such as the higher cost of food and gas make it necessary as well.
Roughton said the new cost of school meals will add up for families. She said if a kid were to eat breakfast and lunch at school, it would cost a family around $20 a week.
She expects to see more families making hard financial decisions and experiencing food insecurity this school year. This could look like a decrease in meal participation.
“Every child needs to eat breakfast and lunch every day for a balanced nutrition. Just so they can fill up their bodies and be ready for the classroom, so that teachers can fill their minds,” said Roughton.
Roughton said no kid will be turned away at the lunch line because she said for some kids, the only meals they have in a day comes from school. Although, it’s important for parents to know meal costs will continue to rack up on that kid’s account.
She encourages parents look to their resources for help, including local food pantries and filling out the Free and Reduced-Price lunch application. You can find these on Gravette school’s website here.
To encourage families to fill out the application, Roughton said those who do will be entered into a raffle for a $100 gas card.