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Free meals not being offered at 8 Waukesha Schools despite federal program

Posted at 11:53 PM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-08 00:53:23-05

WAUKESHA, Wisc. — The issue of free meals for students in the School District of Waukesha was back up for debate Monday night at a Finance and Facilities Committee meeting.

On Monday's agenda was the “Food Service Program Report” which had been requested by board members.

The school district made national headlines when it originally turned down the federal government’s Seamless Summer Option (SSO). The board later reversed its decision and voted five to four to move forward with accepting the federal funds that provided two meals a day to students.

At the moment, there are eight schools where breakfast is not offered. The schools include Meadowbrook, Summit View, Bethesda, Rose Glen, Hillcrest, Prairie, Randall & Saratoga STEM campuses.

Board member Greg Deets questioned why the meal program wasn’t being offered at all schools when the funding is available.

“It was approved five to four to offer the Seamless Summer Option, which includes breakfast and lunch. None of this has to be happening, to me this is a no-brainer” said Deets.

Administration officials said that board members thought when they voted five to four in August to approve the free meal program, that they were just continuing services already in place before COVID-19. Officials did not say why those eight schools weren’t included in the original program.

District administrators say 35.1% of students receive free or reduced meals. Board member Karin Rajnicek requested that the percentage of students at the eight schools in question be researched and reported back.

“All I’m asking is we identify the people who truly need it and don’t give it to everybody that doesn’t need it,” she said.

The issue will now be added to a board agenda down the road.

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