Education

The state is sending $307 in food aid to every student at these 20 Cedar Rapids schools

The benefit also goes to all Iowa students who receive free or reduced-price lunch

Students race back into the McKinley STEAM Academy school building in Cedar Rapids after a field trip on Wednesday, Nov.
Students race back into the McKinley STEAM Academy school building in Cedar Rapids after a field trip on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

The state is sending $307.80 to nearly 250,000 Iowa children — including every student at 20 Cedar Rapids schools — who would have been eligible for free or reduced-price lunches this spring had schools remained open.

The Iowa Department of Human Services will distribute more than $76.2 million in food assistance this month, according to a news release this week from the Iowa Department of Education.

The funds, which can be used to buy groceries, will arrive either in the mail or — if the student’s family received food assistance or SNAP benefits in April, May or June — be added to the household’s EBT card on July 15.

If a family does not have an EBT card, the state will send a P-EBT card to the address on file with their school between July 14 and 21. Those cards will come in white envelopes addressed to the child, with a return address in Austin, Texas.

Eligibility was determined by schools’ participation in the National School Lunch Program, and any student who received free or reduced-price meals as of March 16 qualified.

Students enrolled in schools that provided free meals to all students will be eligible for the benefits, regardless of their family’s income status, Iowa Department of Education spokeswoman Heather Doe said.

Those include all children who attended the 20 schools in the Cedar Rapids Community School District that qualify for community-based federal meal funding, which is available to schools where at least 40 percent of students qualify for free lunch.

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Those schools, according to state documents, are Arthur, Cleveland, Garfield, Grant, Grant Wood, Harrison, Hiawatha, Hoover, Johnson, Kenwood, Nixon, Taylor, Van Buren and Wright elementary schools; Franklin, McKinley, Roosevelt and Wilson middle schools; Metro High School and the Polk Alternative Education Center.

Every student at Tate Alternative High School in Iowa City also will receive a card.

Need more information? Read this FAQ from the Iowa Department of Human Services

Comments: (319) 398-8330; molly.duffy@thegazette.com

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