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School district extends meal program deadline amid confusion

Credit for breakfast and lunch meals will be provided as needed to students in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District through Sept. 6, the district announced Thursday, to give families more time to enroll their children in district meal programs.

The announcement came amid confusion over the end of a federal program that made meals available to students at no cost over the previous two school years. That program, offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, officially ended over the summer, according to a district press release from July.

KPBSD Director of Planning and Operations Kevin Lyon confirmed Thursday that the district will offer a grace period for families through Sept. 6 to give families more time to enroll in meal programs. Lyon said he was not sure whether any district students were refused meals outright this week, but that it’s possible some students were redirected to a nurse’s office for alternative food options.

Families can apply for free and reduced meals through a new online portal hosted by the State of Alaska. That portal can be accessed at mealapp.kpbsd.org. Families must create an account with School Cafe to access the online portal, according to the site. Limited paper applications are also available at school sites for families without access to the internet.

Families can also add money to their student’s school meal account at kpbsd.revtrak.net, and opt-in to allow students to charge school meals.

Students who participate in the free and reduced meals program are not charged for breakfast. Those students are charged 40 cents for lunch.

Students who do not participate in the free and reduced meals program are charged $2.50 for breakfast. Students in kindergarten through sixth grade are charged $3.50 for lunch. Students in seventh through 12th grade are charged $4 for lunch.

All students at Nanwalek School, Nikolaevsk School and Tebughna School are eligible for free meals, as those schools are part of the Community Eligible Program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture describes the program as a non-pricing meal service for schools in low-income areas.

More information about KPBSD’s school meal program can be found on the district’s website at kpbsd.org.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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