NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – New Mexico students who qualify for reduced-price school lunches will continue eating for free. The Federal Every Student Eats Free policy started during the pandemic and expired on July 1. It was replaced by the Keep Kids Fed Act which reinstates co-pays families would normally pay.

House Bill 10, passed during the 2020 regular session, required the Public Education Department to cover co-pays that families in the reduced-price meal program. The bill comes with a recurring $625,000 annual appropriation.

Schools will have to report the number of meals served so the PED can reimburse schools for the uncollected co-pays. Eligibility is based on household income and family size. Children from families with incomes at or below 130% of the federal poverty level are eligible for free meals. Families with incomes between 130 and 185% of the federal poverty level are eligible for reduced-price meals.