Students from Rio Rancho Elementary School came home with a flyer last week that said  parents would have to pay for school lunches if they didn’t apply for the free lunch program.

However, that is not the case. Rio Rancho Public Schools says all students will have access to free lunch and the flyer mistakenly was given to students to bring home.

Senate Bill 4, known as The Healthy Universal School Meals for Children Act, passed unanimously in the House in March, making free meals at schools for every student in New Mexico a reality.

This bill, generated from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s FY24 budget proposal and sponsored by state Sen. Michael Padilla, makes school meals available at no cost for every student in the state. It passed 35-0 in the Senate on March 4.

“With this legislation, we will be able to provide healthy school meals to all of our students, free of charge,” RRPS Communications Director Wyndham said. “Research shows that children are better prepared to learn when they begin their day with a well-balanced breakfast followed by a healthy lunch. The district is committed to ensuring that hunger is not a barrier to learning, and this bill supports that goal.”

In June, RRPS announced it was giving away a 65-inch TV as an incentive for families to apply anyway for free lunches, which ensures that other initiatives and funding continue. The flyer from RRES muddied that point.

“We want to clarify what Rio Rancho Public Schools is going to align with Senate Bill 4, or the Healthy Hunger-Free Students Bill of Rights Act,” Kemsley  said. “Starting this year, all RRPS students will have access to free school meals (one breakfast and one lunch each day) for the entirety of the school year. As an incentive for families to submit applications, RRPS is offering a free 65-inch television to one lucky applicant. Families are automatically entered to win once they submit the application, and the drawing will conclude on August 31. However, applications can still be submitted after the drawing deadline. While the application provides important information to RRPS and the state, all students are eligible for free meals regardless of whether or not they submit the meal application.”
To submit an application and help ensure your child’s school continues to receive the correct funding, click here.