EAST ROCKHILL — Free school lunches and breakfasts are staying on the menu for at least another year.
Federal and state funding has paid for the meals, provided by local schools, during the pandemic. That funding has now been extended through the 2021-2022 school year, Sean Daubert, the district's business administrator, said at the May 4 Pennridge School Board Finance Committee meeting.
"We've been working on putting the lunch prices in place for next year and then we got word from the federal government that all students will eat for free next year," he said.
The district will still officially set lunch and breakfast prices, which will be the same as this year, he said.
Even with the free meals, there could be times when pricing is needed, he said, such as if a student wanted more than one meal.
"We can only give a student one free lunch, so if a kid next year wants a second lunch, we'd have to charge them for that," he said.
The district prices remain at $2.60 for elementary lunch; $3.10 for middle school or high school lunch; .40 for reduced cost lunches under the federal reduced or free meals program; $1.50 for elementary breakfast; $1.75 for middle school or high school breakfast; and .30 for reduced cost breakfasts, Daubert said in answer to emailed questions for this article.
The elementary and middle school breakfast prices increased by .25 for the 2020-2021 school year, the first increase in 13 years; the high school breakfast prices have stayed the same for 14 years, he said.
Students who are not attending in-person classes during the pandemic can also receive free meals through the district.
Meals for children 18 and younger are provided Mondays at the high school with contactless, drive through pickups, according to information on the district's website. Meals for seven days are provided at that time.
In March of this year, it was announced that Pennridge Nutritional Services had provided more than half a million meals in the preceding year.
The amount of federal and state reimbursement received for the meals is more than the district's costs, Daubert said. The total reimbursement for the 2020-2021 school year is $3.58 per meal, he said.