Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Denton ISD sees rise in unpaid lunch balances

Denton ISD says it and many other school districts are seeing a “sharp increase in unpaid lunch balances” following the expiration of a federal waiver.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture granted waivers that allowed all students to receive free school lunches – regardless if they had submitted the free and reduced lunch application. Those waivers expired in June 2022, meaning the universal free lunch program was over and parents are now required again to complete the free and reduced lunch application in order for their child to receive meal benefits.

After half of the 2022-23 school year, Denton ISD has incurred over $100,000 in unpaid lunch balances, the district said in a news release. At the end of the year, the district’s general fund would have to balance any unpaid amounts.

Amber Briggle, owner of Soma Massage Therapy, is collecting donations from her business’ customers and will match up to $1,500 to help pay off the unpaid balances at Newton Rayzor Elementary School in Denton, according to the Denton ISD news release. Those interested in contributing to the cause can contact the Denton ISD child nutrition office at 940-369-0270.

For their children to receive free or reduced benefits, parents must apply at schoolcafe.com annually. Nearly half of Denton ISD students receive meal benefits.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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