Flyer causes confusion about free meals at Rio Rancho schools

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RIO RANCHO, N.M. — A flyer that accidentally made its way into back-to-school packets at an elementary school in Rio Rancho took many parents by surprise. The letter said they would have to pay for school lunches if they didn’t apply for the free lunch program.

Earlier this year, state leaders unanimously passed Senate Bill 4, greenlighting free breakfast and lunch in every New Mexico school.

KOB 4 reached out to Rio Rancho Public Schools about the flyer that went out, and officials say it was a big miscommunication. They want to assure parents that every student that needs a free meal will get one.

“All students are going to be free regardless of the application status,” said Felix Griego, the executive director of Student Nutrition with RRPS Student Services. “However, we are reaching out to our families and households to see if they can fill out those applications and certify those students – free, reduced, and pay – for the simple fact that that contributes to how we get funded from USDA federal funds as well as Senate Bill 4 Funds.”

District officials said the flyer sent out was a clerical error and they will be sending out the correct information to families.

Parents can fill out the free meals application from now until the end of the school year. The district said the sooner the better, so they have the most up-to-date data on who needs free lunch.