CADDO MILLS, Texas — Lunch is no longer free for all public school students, after COVID-era waivers from the federal government expired.
"Last year was free, which was a big blessing," Kortney Sandoval, a Caddo Mills mom, told WFAA.
Now that the program's expired, Sandoval said she's looking at spending an extra $200 a month now on school meals for her two kids.
With inflation, Sandoval said, she's feeling the pinch.
And she and her husband make too much to qualify for reduced price lunches, she told WFAA.
"I've thought about getting a second job. I really don't want to, because I already feel like as a mom with two kids and sports, and you know, working, already filled burnout," she said.
Sandoval said she and her husband are fine financially, but would love to be more comfortable.
"And I know we're not the only people that feel like this," she said.
In a survey, WFAA asked parents at home if they feel financially ready for the school year: 49% said yes, while 51% said no or somewhere in the middle.
Over in Denton ISD, director of Child Nutrition Liz Raftrey told WFAA that kids will never be turned away for a meal.
"I think there is a perception out there that that because we are going back to paid meals that if the students don't have money they won't be able to eat," she said.
"And in fact that's not the case at all. We will not turn students away we will continue to feed students," she added.
If kids' accounts dip into the negatives, she said, the district will foot the bill.
It often receives some funding for that through private donations, she said.