ABILENE Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Students at all Wylie ISD schools can look forward to free breakfast and lunch for the entirety of the 2021-22 school year thanks to a new program from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“It’s in response to COVID-19 and some issues that folks have had financially,” says Wylie Superintendent Joey Light.
Light says that they became aware of the program this spring and opted in after careful consideration.
Though the particulars of the program are new, the school partnership with the USDA is not.
“Everything that we have ever done has been through them and this is their opportunity to reach out and help all communities across Texas,” said Light.
This offering follows directly behind the “Seamless Summer Option”. Much in the way that it provided meals to children in the summer, this program will continue when school picks back up.
“Anything that we can do to help our community and relieve some of the anxiety in this environment we’re in is a benefit,” Light says.
The old free and reduced meals program benefited roughly 1,000 kids, or around 20% of Wylie students. Light says this new program will be more widely applicable.
“Now all of our students, which is 5,000 students, will benefit from that, so we’re excited,” he said.
Participating schools receive a reimbursement cost for every student that takes part, meaning the cafeteria won’t operate at a loss to the district.
“As the cost of groceries go up, cost of labor goes up, we have those same issues, so it is a real boom to our food service department,” Light says.
The only requirement to receive these benefits is that the schools be participants.
As such, Wylie secondary schools, which have been off of the federal program, will now be re-enrolled with the Department of Agriculture.
This program applies only to the base cafeteria meal and does not extend to any snack bar or a la carte items.