Public schools across US risk running out of funds for free, reduced lunch program

Public schools across US risk running out of funds for free, reduced lunch program
In the Grand Rapids Public School District alone, that's up to 17,000 children that could be affected.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI (WXMI/CNN) - The U.S. is now in the fifth week of the longest government shutdown on record.

It might not be long until the shutdown starts affecting public schools.

School leaders around the country may be faced with the challenge of scraping together money to feed low-income students.

That’s up to 17,000 children in the Grand Rapids Public School District.

Typically, thanks to school meal programs, the government pays school districts back for meals they cover up front.

But, with the shutdown ongoing, schools might eventually have to dip into reserves which could mean using money intended for classroom use.

It’s even more of a concern for smaller school districts in rural areas that just don’t have the budget larger districts have.

For them, it could mean making small cuts in the district.

“It’s the unnecessary stress on school districts that are already inadequately and inequitably funded,” said John Helmholdt, of Grand Rapids Public Schools.

Many districts received funding for most of January and into February.

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