Now parents are scrambling to get the program back. The Waukesha School District is the only one in the state to reject the program.
The district relied last school year on the universal free-lunch program — funded by the Department of Agriculture and launched during the coronavirus pandemic as families were struggling financially.
But it voted in June to reject the program. Board members decided instead to return to the pre-pandemic National School Lunch Program, which offers free and reduced-price lunches to low-income students whose families apply for it.
One board member called the move a return to “normalization.” Another complained at a meeting that free school lunch for all would create a “slow addiction” to the service. Board member Karin Rajnicek said the free program made it easy for families to “