For the last 4 years, every student in the Baldwin County school system has received free lunch. But now, the county is in jeopardy of losing that if they don't get enough applications to renew the Provision 2 of the National School Lunch Program.
"Making sure that everyone is fed is not cheap," parent Bridget Ivey said.
Bridget Ivey says she fears for what she'll have to pay if Baldwin doesn't hit the mark for these applications. She has 4 kids at Baldwin schools.
"That means a lot more money out of my pocket. I think it would be close to $2,700 a year, so that's a lot," Ivey said.
The prices for those meals will add up for parents throughout the year. Breakfast is $1.25, lunch is $2.50. So if you take $3.75 and multiply that by 180 days in the school year, that comes out to $675 a year for parents have to pay per child.
86% of Baldwin County students qualify for free or reduced lunch, but so far the county has received only about two-thirds of the applications they need.
"We still have around 1,100 students that we don't have meal applications for at all," Susan Nelson said.
Nutrition Coordinator Susan Nelson says if the school system doesn't reach qualification for free meals, that could mean cutting funding for other departments.
"It would also affect our Title I program, which is special education, in particular it would affect their funding rates," Nelson said. "They would not get as much reimbursement either."
Both Nelson and Ivey are hoping parents send in those applications as soon as possible.
"I really hope and I have confidence that a lot of people are going to go ahead and get all of the paperwork filled out so that we can hopefully get back to free lunches, or stay with free lunches," Ivey said.
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