LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Jefferson County Public Schools has distributed 3.4 million meals to more than 300,000 students since the pandemic began in March, but on Tuesday district officials said it needs more federal funding to keep the program going.
JCPS Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio said the USDA reimburses the district for the meals it serves students.
However, since JCPS typically serves more meals during a regular school year than it currently serves, the USDA has been issuing smaller reimbursements.
In addition, the $30 million JCPS received from the CARES Act in June is running low, according to Pollio.
“JCPS is having to use significant funding to meet the needs and feed the children throughout this community,” Pollio said.
Pollio hopes JCPS will receive another batch of funds from an anticipated second CARES Act to support these programs. Especially since the USDA recently extended JCPS’s waiver which expands the district’s meal distribution program to all children under 18 years-old, regardless of whether they attend school in Jefferson County.
The waiver extension will last until June 30, 2021.
“I’ve said all along that the amount of money we spend will far exceed the amount we received in that package. Whether that be Chromebooks, PPE, or supporting our nutrition services because we’re not getting the same amount of funding from the federal government when it comes to meals, we just know that’s going to be a negative impact on the district and that means hurting students' services that they receive,” Pollio said.
JCPS has been working with Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner, Dr. Ryan Quarles to advocate for additional funding from the state and federal governments.
“For countless Kentuckians, it’s our school systems that are keeping them fed right now,” Quarles said. “Our end goal is to reduce the amount of barriers it takes to make sure every Kentucky student has access to a warm meal, breakfast and maybe a snack along the way.”
JCPS has changed some of its meal distribution site locations.
For a list of site locations and hours of operation, click or tap here.