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Education

Wichita Public Schools Moves Ahead With Summer Meals Program, Despite Threat Of Shutdown

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Wichita Public Schools is offering free breakfasts, lunches and snacks to kids 18 years and younger this summer.

The Wichita Public School District is serving free summer meals for students beginning Monday through the start of school in August. But, the district is still preparing for a possible statewide shutdown in July that could impact the program.

The district is offering free breakfasts, lunches and snacks to children 18 years or younger at 44 different locations throughout Wichita. All students are eligible, even if they don’t normally receive free or reduced meals (nearly 80 percent of USD 259 students qualify).

“The important thing to us is that our kids have nutritious, healthy meals and are able to eat and provide fuel for their bodies all summer," says district spokeswoman Wendy Johnson. "That's the important part."

But if state lawmakers can’t meet a June 30 deadline to pass a new school funding formula, Kansas schools could be forced to shut down this summer—along with the free meals program.

“The reality is that a shutdown could affect the summer food program," Johnson says. "The reality also is that we don’t have any idea at this point whether that’s something that we’ll have to contend with.”

Johnson says they’re planning to continue the program as scheduled.

"And if something changes, and if we have to deal with the potential for shutdown or anything else that would be an anomaly, we'll do it," she says. "We'll hope that that doesn't happen, though."

The meals are funded through the federal student nutrition program. Most meal locations will be open Monday-Friday, with some open Monday-Thursday.

Map via USD 259:

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Follow Nadya Faulx on Twitter @NadyaFaulx.

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