agriculture, NC Budget and Tax Center

Schools are concerned over shutdown’s impact on meal programs

Amid the longest government shutdown in United States history, many school systems are concerned with their ability to receive reimbursements for their free and reduced priced meal programs. North Carolina’s school nutrition programs are a critical tool in the fight to end childhood hunger for students across the state, serving more than one million students breakfast or lunch at school each day.

In Vance County, school officials continue to serve breakfast and lunch, but have taken steps to prepare for the long-term impacts by restricting the portions of food students are receiving. According to a letter written by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) has secured additional funding which “can support program operations at normal levels well into March.”

At the moment, there is no reason for school districts to take the drastic step of stopping or changing students’ food and meals. There are also other methods school districts can utilize to fund meals if the government does not open in time, such as the state’s ability to draw on their reserves or rainy day funds.The NC Department of Public Instruction (DPI) plans to keep school officials informed as the shutdown continues.

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