At a glance: school lunch policy

School districts set their own policies for providing food when a child's lunch account has run out of money.

Some districts, like Brooklyn Center and Proctor, provide a free sandwich and milk. St. Paul Public Schools has a similar policy. The district provides a free cheese sandwich and milk to elementary and middle school students. High school students in the district do not receive any free meals.

Other districts allow students to continue receiving a hot lunch while the school works with parents to either pay the bill or apply for the federal school lunch program. Duluth Public Schools provides hot lunches to elementary school students while parents resolve the matter. If the account remains empty, the district can provide a bag lunch instead, but district spokesperson Kathleen Kaufman said that's rare. At the high school level, the district provides just one free hot lunch.

Some districts provide unlimited hot lunches to children regardless of their ability to pay. Legal Aid called about half of the districts in the state and found 22 districts with this policy. They include: Minneapolis, Anoka-Hennepin, Robbinsdale, Brainerd, Cannon Falls, South Washington County, Bemidji, Minnewaska, Virginia, Delano, Sebeka, New York Mills, La Crescent-Hokah, Canby, Cromwell-Wright, Fulda, Evansville, Lanesboro, Oklee, Kittson Central, Comfrey, and Ivanhoe.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.