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New School Meal Charging Policy Effective Jan. 5
November 18, 2008
Students Will Be Limited in the Number of Meals They Can Charge
The Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education recently approved a school meal policy that will limit the number of times students can charge meals.
Beginning Jan. 5, 2009, students may charge up to 10 meals at elementary schools, five meals at middle schools and two meals at high schools. Once the charge limit is met, students will be offered an alternate meal consisting of a cheese sandwich and a beverage. Students who already have more than the allowed number of meal charges on Jan. 5 will be given the alternate meal. Parents need to check with their child’s school cafeteria for any balances currently owed.
“The Board of Education and the APS administration felt this new meal charging policy was necessary because too many students who don’t qualify for free or reduced-cost meals weren’t paying for school meals,” said APS Superintendent Winston Brooks. “We never want a child to go hungry, which is why we are offering an alternate meal. However, we also cannot continue to serve meals without getting paid; we have to cover our costs.”
Brooks and Mary Swift, director of APS Food and Nutrition Services, encourage families who are struggling financially to apply for free or reduced-cost meals through the federal National School Lunch Program. About 55 percent of APS students are now eligible for the program, but many more families may be eligible than apply, said Swift.
The cost of reduced-priced meals is 30 cents for breakfast, 40 cents for lunch. Families can apply for the free or reduced-priced meals by filling out an application that is available from each school’s office or the cafeteria manager. Parents may also get an application form by calling APS Food and Nutrition Services at 345-5661, ext. 37030.
Families who do not qualify for subsidized meals are responsible for providing either a meal or the money to pay for a meal for their student. Meal prices are $1.15 for breakfast, $1.75 for elementary lunches and $2 for secondary lunches.
As of last month, more than $100,000 worth of meals had been charged at school cafeterias, a substantial increase over last year, when about $130,000 worth of charges were outstanding at the end of the school year.