School Lunch Debt is Climbing Again


  • North Carolina K-12 students have racked up more than $3 million in school lunch debts this year
  • School breakfast/lunch is a burden on lower-income families across North Carolina
  • Republican lawmakers have so far blocked efforts to make all student breakfasts and lunches free

After a bit more than two years’ reprieve, students all across North Carolina’s public schools began paying for breakfast and lunch at school again this year. During the height of the COVID pandemic, federal rules on school lunch reimbursements were changed to make all lunches and breakfasts free to K-12 students nationwide. 

But those rule changes have now expired, meaning that American schoolchildren now face school lunch bills once again.

Students in North Carolina who do not receive free or reduced-price school meals are still eligible to get lunch or breakfast – up to a point.

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