August 16, 2022 – Williamsburg-James City County School Board – Observer Corps Report

The regular August 16 School Board was short.

The Board voted to approve numerous changes to school policies that had been read and discussed in previous sessions. The only vote that elicited questions and comments was the increase in school lunch prices. The higher price is required to cover increased costs. For the previous two years, school lunches and breakfasts have been paid for by pandemic funds from the federal government. Having free meals produced an increase in participation at all levels—elementary, middle and high school. The high school participation rate more than doubled. Now there is no more pandemic money so many students will be paying for their lunches in the upcoming year. Several Board members expressed concern that paying for school meals would put an extra financial strain on many financially hard-pressed families who had not been paying for the past 2 years. The Superintendent promised to report back about student participation in the school’s meal program in the upcoming year and the percentages of families that apply and qualify for free meals. The government lunch program which subsidizes all program food, pays for entire schools to have free lunches if 40% of students meet the financial qualifications for free meals. Five schools in the system currently qualify.

— Ann Hobson