Pre-Pandemic School Meal Program Resumes in 2022-23
The universal free school meals program, authorized by Congress during the pandemic that enabled all children to eat at no cost the past two years, is set to expire at the end of June 2022.
The absence of that federal program, coupled with escalating costs for food, supplies, equipment and labor, has left school districts throughout the nation – Bossier Schools included – faced with charging for meals and raising prices during the 2022-23 year to offset expenses.
“Everyone is feeling the pinch at the grocery store, and so are we as a school system,” explained Karla Horton, Supervisor of Child Nutrition for Bossier Schools. “We have seen our expenses skyrocket, which is why a 10-cent price increase has been approved starting this fall.”
Elementary lunch prices will go from $2.10 to $2.20; middle school meals will increase from $2.20 to $2.30; and high school students will pay $2.40.
Horton added, “If we could offer meals at the same cost as two years ago, we certainly would, but it is still a good deal for the nutritious meals served to the children of Bossier Parish that meet USDA dietary guidelines.”
Not all students will have to pay to eat, however. Those attending the 23 Bossier Parish schools that are a part of the Community Eligibility Program will continue to receive free breakfast and lunch. Schools included are: Apollo Elementary, Bellaire Elementary, Bossier Elementary, Bossier High, Butler Educational Complex, Central Park Elementary, Cope Middle, Curtis Elementary, Elm Grove Elementary, Elm Grove Middle, Greenacres Middle, Haughton Elementary, Haughton Middle, R.V. Kerr Elementary, Meadowview Elementary, Plain Dealing K-12, Platt Elementary, Plantation Park Elementary, Princeton Elementary, T.L. Rodes Elementary, Rusheon Middle, Sun City Elementary and Waller Elementary.
Families are also encouraged to apply for free and reduced lunch by visiting www.myschoolapps.com, a process that takes less than five minutes; and, for the first time in Louisiana, any child that receives Medicaid benefits will automatically qualify this school year.
“I cannot emphasize enough the importance of everyone applying for the free and reduced lunch program, including those families whose children attend CEP schools,” Horton said. “When a child qualifies for meal benefits, they also become eligible for P-EBT cards and free or reduced testing fees.”
Parents who have questions or need assistance filling out applications are encouraged to call Bossier Schools Child Nutrition Program at (318) 549-5046.