Guilford students eligible for the discounted lunch will get it free this year | Education

GREENSBORO — Students who qualify for a discounted breakfast or lunch will receive those meals for free this year.

The state budget, recently signed by Gov. Roy Cooper, includes one-time funding to cover the difference in cost, according to Guilford County Schools Chief Financial Officer Angie Henry.

Henry shared the news as part of an update on state and county budget impacts on the school system at a Guilford County School Board meeting Tuesday night.

All students received free meals during the pandemic. However, that is expected to change next year, as federal waivers that granted free meals at all levels have expired.

Instead, some schools with higher poverty levels will still be able to provide free meals to their students. At other schools, however, free meals will only be available to students whose families demonstrate financial need.

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Henry said county commissioners gave the district an additional $19.2 million this year for annual operations funding. Of that amount, an additional $13.2 million would be used to fund local increases to the salary supplement for teachers, vice-principals and principals. The remainder would cover required distributions to public charter schools and help pay for state-mandated increases for locally funded positions.

In a brief interview last week, Henry said county funding would not be enough to cover the $5.5 million in increased compensation for classified staff, guards, cafeteria workers and teaching assistants that the district had included in its application to the commissioners. This request was for $25.7 million, more than the $19.2 million received by the district.

Henry said the school system budget is not yet finalized and administrators will review whether there is money budgeted for other purposes that can be redirected to cover graded staff increases.

She also said Tuesday that county commissioners have fully funded the district’s request for $10 million in “capital expenditure” funds for the 2022-23 fiscal year to cover expenses such as HVAC and roof repairs. in some schools. This money marked a notable increase the district received for this category and included approximately $2 million in lottery funds.

Henry said the county typically uses most of the lottery money it receives to pay off debt related to building schools. However, the county did not spend all the money it received each year. These accumulated remains were returned to the district in this budget.

Contact Jessie Pounds at 336-373-7002 and follow @JessiePounds on Twitter.

Christy J. Olson