Hannibal Courier-Post

Partial government shutdown could soon impact school meal programs

School meal programs could soon be impacted by the partial government shutdown that has passed the one-month mark.
By Danny Henley, Courier-Post Reporter
Posted: Jan. 21, 2019 2:00 pm

School meal programs could soon be impacted by the partial government shutdown that has passed the one-month mark.

Susan Johnson, superintendent of Hannibal Public School District No. 60, told the school board last week that the shutdown's impact on public education "should be minimal."

However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has told the school district that depending on the length of the shutdown, commodity foods may run short.

"School districts will continue to receive commodity foods through the end of January and into February," Johnson said. "If it lasts much longer than the month of January, we may not get a lot of the foods we typically get through commodities which will mean that we will need to purchase additional food."

Rich Stilley, school district business manager, said the purchase of additional food would not impact the district's budget.

"We have agreements with our suppliers to be able to purchase food at the commodity pricing," he said.

Among the commodity foods the district receives are chicken, pork products, cheese, canned fruits and vegetables.

Stilley said the district would be reimbursed for the money it spends for additional food during the shutdown. Johnson said that federal food funds may not come to school districts beyond the month of January, but will resume once the partial government shutdown concludes. The Hannibal public school district receives annually around $1.4 million of federal funding for food service in the school lunch program, according to Stilley.

Stilley said the shutdown "will not have any impact at all on our students/families and how they receive it or pay for their meals."

Over the weekend, President Donald Trump proposed a compromise immigration plan that, if approved, could have brought to an end the partial federal government shutdown. Opponents dismissed the proposal that would have temporarily extended protections for young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children and those fleeing disaster zones in exchange for $5.7 million for his border wall. Democrats said the three-year proposal didn't go far enough.