Prince George’s Co. school board member proposes free meals for students during shutdown

Counties around Washington, D.C. are considering increasing subsidies for school meals during the federal government shutdow. (AP Photo/Mary Esch, File)
WASHINGTON — Later this week, federal workers will notice the impact of the federal government shutdown in their bank accounts.

And whether they’re on furlough or working without getting paid, bills will be showing up. But there’s one expense a local school system is hoping to cover for parents worried about their budgets if the shutdown continues to drag on.

K. Alexander Wallace, a member of the Prince George’s County School Board, is proposing that the county cover all breakfast and lunch fees for students until the shutdown ends. He used his Twitter account to post a letter he sent to interim schools CEO Monica Goldson.

Noting how many parents in the county are also federal employees, Wallace wrote that picking up the lunch and breakfast tab until the shutdown ends “will ease the concerns of many families.”

The cost of a school lunch is $2.75 per day in elementary schools and $3 per day for middle and high schools. A high school student who eats breakfast and lunch at school every day can pay up to $92 per month.

The proposal comes days after Charles County schools announced it would increase the school lunch credit program it offers. The increase takes effect Friday and runs through 30 days after the end of the shutdown.

The program runs like a credit card, allowing students who don’t have cash for lunch that particular day to eat anyway, and pay back the cost later. The debt limits have been raised to as much as $55 per day, and will stay elevated until 30 days after the shutdown ends.

Any debt accrued during this period, however, will eventually have to be paid back.

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John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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