MCSD sets the record straight on ‘alternative’ school lunches

MUSCOGEE COUNTY, GA (WTVM) - Some Muscogee County School District parents are concerned their children are not receiving a regular school lunch.

One parent says his child is receiving "alternative lunches" that are determined by income.

Students are given an alternative lunch if the funds are not available on their account; however, this has nothing to do with an individual's income.

A free or reduced lunch does have to do with income, and anyone who has a child attending a MCSD school can complete an application for free and reduced meals.

Thirty-eight of the schools in the district are known as "Community-Eligibility-Provision" schools, providing all children to eat breakfast and lunch at no cost.

The MCSD says these alternative lunches are of the same nutritional value as a regular lunch.

"Students don't go without having a meal, there is an alternative lunch that is served typically it's a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a cheese sandwich, a fruit, as well as a carton of milk," said Director of Communications Valerie Fuller. "It's important to recognize that some students may have allergies and the school nutrition department at each school knows who those kids are who have allergies and they work with that also."

Fuller said since the school district lunches are self-funded, they cannot be in the "red" and that is why there is urgency in getting them paid.

She says the process of getting the lunches paid for isn't intended to offend anyone.

"When students come through the lunch line if they don't have funds available on their account they have to give that tray back or pay for that meal, if not then they're given an alternative meal," Fuller said. "That is done as discretely as possible. It's not to embarrass the student nor would any of our school nutrition managers or workers do that."

Parents can fill out an application for a free lunch at any time of the year for their child to receive a free lunch.

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