The Tuscaloosa County School System is encouraging families to apply for assistance as their schools prepare to return to charging for meals, and at higher prices than before.

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In a Friday release, the district pointed to the end of federal funding that provided free meals for students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement comes after families of several schools in the Tuscaloosa City Schools District received notice to apply for similar benefits in late June.

There are around 20,000 students at 34 schools in the county system.

TCSS said families will also be required to pay more than they have before for student meals for the upcoming school year "due to the increase in food costs since the 2019-2020 school year."

The prices for meals for the 2022/2023 school year are:

Faculty Lunch: $4.10
Elementary School Lunch: $2.90
Intermediate/Middle School Lunch: $3.20
High School Lunch: $3.20
Visiting Adult Lunch: $4.25
Faculty Breakfast: $1.75
Elementary School Breakfast: $1.50
Intermediate/Middle School Breakfast: $1.50
High School Breakfast: $1.50
Visiting Adult Breakfast: $2.00
Students who qualify for reduced-priced meals will not face an increase, with breakfast remaining at 30 cents and lunch at 40 cents.
Through the Community Eligibility Provision, a federal program that provides meals to students at no charge who live in areas that meet certain economic requirements, the following schools will continue to receive free meals:
Crestmont Elementary
Holt Elementary
Matthews Elementary
Lloyd Wood Education Center
Parents are encouraged by the district to apply for meal benefits by visiting www.myschoolapps.com.

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