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Food Service Update: Free Meals in 2021-22

Reported by ronald_johnson@ipsd.org on 7/27/21

Regulations require Districts participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) to set prices for paid meals at a rate that is more equal with funds brought in from free and reduced-price meal reimbursements. This requirement is known as Paid Lunch Equity (PLE).

For the 2021-22 school year, we will be operating the NSLP Seamless Summer Option (SSO), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued waivers for Districts operating SSO, which allows us to provide meals to all students at no cost. Therefore, all meals are free to every student again this school year. However, students will be charged for any a la carte items taken, such as extra milk (not taken with a meal).

Even though all meals are free this year, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has suggested school districts maintain PLE and publish pricing for the community to know where prices would stand if SSO were not available. Therefore, the price for a paid lunch for the 2021-22 school year would have been as follows:

• Elementary: $2.75 per meal
• Middle: $2.80 per meal
• High: $2.80 per meal
(For lunch at all levels, students are required to take 3 of the 5 components offered and one component must be a full serving of fruit or vegetable.)

• Breakfast: $1.60 (all grades where breakfast is served)
(For breakfast, students are required to take at least 3 of the 4 components offered, at least one of which must be a full serving of fruit.)

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