Denver school district's lunch debt explodes: Should we bring back 'lunch-shaming'?

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DENVER -- Back to school means back to packing lunches. But for thousands of kids, it can also mean the anxiety of knowing there's no lunch to take.

That's one reason Denver Public Schools put an end to "lunch shaming" a year ago, by promising to feed every kid, every day. But the result of that promise has a lot of parents talking. 

There's thousands more free lunches, sure, but it came at a big cost — a spike in the district's school lunch debt.

The debt at DPS went from $13,000 in the 2016-17 school year to more than $350,000 last school year.

The district wants to be sure everyone who qualifies for a free or reduced price lunch gets one, after all, there's federal funding for that.

The application is online and takes less than 10 minutes to fill out. Before you fill it out, make sure to have all this information handy:

  • The six-digit DPS ID number for each student in your household.
  • Their names, grades and birth dates.
  • If you have a SNAP case number from the state, you'll need that as well.
  • The last four numbers of your Social Security number.
  • A valid email address or phone number where you can be reached at.

The district should process your application within ten working days of receiving it. The process will be even faster if you do it all online.

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