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Some WA families will have to pay again for school meals. Here’s how much

For the first time in two years, public school meals won’t be free for all students.

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the US Department of Agriculture issued waivers to reimburse public K-12 schools giving free meals to students. That program is coming to an end next month, however, and the free and reduced-price meals will be available only to students who qualify.

The exception? Students attending schools where 40% of the student body is eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Those institutions are reimbursed for free meals under a federal program.

Of 107 schools in Seattle’s public K-12 school district, 52 fit that profile — so students at those sites will continue receiving free meals, said district spokesperson Sondra Santos.

Parents of students at the other schools need to apply for free or reduced-price meals.

A family of four with about $51,300 or less in annual income will qualify for free student meals. A family of three making about $42,600 or less would also be eligible.

Students whose families make more than the federal program’s threshold will not be eligible.

Seattle public elementary and K-8 schools will be charging families $2.25 for breakfast and $3.25 for lunch this academic year. For the district’s middle and high schools, breakfast will cost $2.50, and lunch will cost $3.50.

More information about the income eligibility criteria for free or reduced-price meals at Seattle Public Schools is available on the district’s website.

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