Costly Changes

Key Club welcomes a new sponsor as the school year begins.


   In Mar. 2022, Missouri’s federal government announced an end to the free lunch relief packet after the 2021-2022 school year, which came as the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic. Before this program ended, the Federal Government and the U.S. Department of Agriculture placed waivers for schools to provide meals to the student population for a total of two years during the pandemic. Summer school lunch prices have risen in both the high school and middle school, they are now costing $2.85 while breakfast is $1.65. 

   From going from a free lunch to paying, families’ budgets and livelihoods will be affected, as there will be a loss of $400. There will be students will go without food for hours due to this change. Student response, to the end of the program, shows the impacts. 

   “I would say the lunch costs should happen gradually over time,” junior Jordan Huynh said.“ I would  make snacks and stuff more expensive, instead of directly cutting into all the food.”

   There has been an increased worry about underprivileged students’ dedication to school if they are hungry. According to the school social worker, with limited access to a vital substance, many people will feel sluggish, moody and unable to pay attention to the material. 

   “I definitely think that we will have students who are unable to eat during lunch,” School Social Worker Cathy Mendez said. “But my hope is that that they will still be eating at home. Because there are still a lot of food banks in the community that can help families so that people don’t go without food. If families need help finding those food banks, that’s one of the things that counselors and social workers can do”


   Before COVID-19 administration had reports about teens stealing food from the cafeteria to sedate their hunger. The cafeteria also had problems with immense debt among the students. 

   “We haven’t had to deal with students stealing food,” Dr. Adams said. “A lot of times still students will steal food because they’re hungry and so that barrier was taken down.”  

   During the COVID-19 school year, students were able to eat free lunches and breakfasts without worrying about cost. The prices for the 2022-2023 school year will be set and announced after the June board meeting for the LPS 53 school district. Principal Dr. April Adams worries this mandate will affect the school.

   “ I loved the fact our students were able to access food when they needed it, as much as they wanted,” Dr. Adams said. “ They weren’t hungry. I’m really worried, and I’m in a problem-solving process right now to figure out solutions so that I can continue to take care of kids really well.”

   To help aid students who are not able to afford school lunches, the school has set up a free and reduced lunch program. This program continues free lunch and breakfast for the students who apply and qualify. Along with free or discounted food, students will also receive a free or discounted rate for laptop insurance and ACT costs.


 To qualify, students must meet a certain household income and resident criteria from the past three months. Students can fill the form out during registration or go to the counseling office. 


   “I think what will change is how it will impact access,” Adams said. “That is why I’m really encouraging everyone, regardless of your family income, to fill out the free and reduced lunch form. Just so we can have as many opportunities to provide this option for families.”