Parents Should Apply Now for Free or Reduced Lunches for PCPS Students
Ponca City Public Schools - August 17, 2022 6:41 am
For the past two years, students could get school meals for free whether their parents filled out a meal application or not — unfortunately, that won’t be the case this fall. The USDA made it possible for our school nutrition program to serve all students free breakfast and lunch through federal waivers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Congress did not extend these waivers for the upcoming school year, so this new school year we will be back to regularly priced meals. Meals for free and reduced students are primarily federally funded. A small portion of the meal cost is paid by the student under their reduced status. The full priced student will be charged a very reasonable amount for each meal.
Our school lunch program is a solely funded entity that only receives revenue from meals served. When parents and students choose to purchase a lunch or breakfast from school, it is the equivalent of supporting a small business. We do our best to control cost and waste.
As with the past two years, we are affected by supply chain issues, just like many restaurants and retail businesses. Some products are just not available when we need them or not at all. We will do our best to menu items that we are confident about securing the ingredients, but sometimes we have no control over the situation.
If you feel you need help covering the cost of school meals, we encourage you to fill out a meal application, available from the school district on the Ponca City Schools website, during the on-line process or by completing a paper copy at the attendance site and turning the completed form in to the that site. The form asks for information about your income and household size to determine if you qualify. Only one application is required per household.
You can fill it out anytime during the school year, but the forms aren’t retroactive. If you wait until October to fill it out, even if you are eligible for free lunch, you would still be charged for meals that your children take from the start of the school year, until whenever your form is approved. Even if you’ve filled out a form in the past, you need to reapply each school year.
Your privacy is very important to the school district. We minimize the number of people involved in reading and processing the forms. All applications on-line are not viewed by any staff member. The paper applications will be entered by one CNP staff member. While state auditors sometimes request to look at some of the forms to verify that we’re processing the forms correctly, we keep these applications as confidential as possible.
There are additional benefits to families and our school that are determined from the forms, like waivers and reduced fees for school sports and academic testing or reduced price for your home internet service. The forms are used to measure financial hardship in our community, which may allow our school to receive more resources for students.