Free lunch for every student will end in 2022-23 | Local News

SHARON MCBRAYER Staff Writer

Free lunches for all will end come the new school year but free breakfast will continue, the Burke County Board of Education heard during its June work session Monday evening.

Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Mike Swan told the board that the US Department of Agriculture waiver offering free meals for all students is expiring on June 30. The free meals were offered to all families no matter the family income. He said the school system continues to voice its concerns at the state level for parents and the need for free meals.

Given the expiration of free meals for all students, parents can start signing up for the free and reduced school meals starting July 1, Swan said.

To be considered for free lunch, families have to complete the Free and Reduced Meals form to determine whether a student is eligible for the upcoming school year, according to the school system. Summer meals remain free to anyone 18 and under, it says.

Swan said the school system will make the forms readily available through social media during school open houses. A link for the form is also on the front page of the school system website at burke.k12.nc.us.

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The school system says parents or guardians should receive emails with a link to the application and watch for posts on its social media when applications become available July 1.

All students will still receive a free breakfast during the 2022-23 year, according to the school system.

The price of lunch for elementary students will be $ 2.60; middle and high school student meals will be $ 2.85; and adult meals will be $ 3.75, according to the school system.

Also during the meeting, Swan talked about school safety, in light of recent school shootings.

The school system has started a Superintendent Safety Council, which is made up of board Chair Wendi Craven and Vice Chair Aaron Johnson, Swan and some people in leadership positions in the system, as well as law enforcement. Swan said the next meeting will be July 13 and will include the Morganton Department of Public Safety and Burke County Sheriff’s Office.

Swan told the board the sheriff’s office is planning active shooter training in August at the former Chesterfield Elementary School. He said some school administrators and teachers have already been recruited as volunteers for the training.

During the meeting Monday, the school board also discussed the policy on wireless devices, with board member Seth Hunt saying teachers have a constant battle with students to get them to put away their devices during instructional time. He said the board needs to give staff members a very clear policy on confiscating wireless devices from students.

In addition, board member Tiana Beachler said the dress code, particularly for middle schools, needs to be tightened up or uphold the dress code that is already in place. She said she’s heard from faculty and community members who are concerned with the issue.

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