I'm writing in response to the article Dec. 4 about the Fonda-Fultonville Central School District lunch program. I would like to clarify a line in that article.
The food-service budget is a separate budget from the general-fund budget that funds the district expenses. A suggestion was made to "enroll" more students in the free and reduced-price program to help with the district's budget gap.
Actually, parents apply for benefits. Free and reduced-price benefits are based on income and the number of people living in a household. A district food-service department receives reimbursement from the state and federal government based on the number of free, reduced-price and full-price meals sold. We receive USDA-donated foods, and the amount of those foods received is based on the number of meals served the previous year. It is all tied together.
Every September, school districts ask that every parent fill out a free and reduced-price application. The more children eligible, the better it is for the district because it will receive more aid, not only for meals, but also in federal grants.
Our district had to raise prices this year due to the new regulations requiring serving of more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The reimbursement aid and prices students pay for meals and snacks are intended to cover the cost of operating the school lunch program, including food purchases, staffing/benefits and equipment repair and replacement.
If you haven't filled out an application for meal benefits for your family and you have a student in public school, please fill one out. It will help the district as well as your family if you qualify for benefits - a win-win situation for all.
Food service department
Greater Johnstown School District