WILLMAR — It’s important for families to fill out the application for free and reduced-price school meals, even though the meals will be free this year.

The Application for Education Benefits is also used to determine if families are eligible for a sliding scale on activity fees. Some state aid is tied to the level of poverty in the district, too.

The form is available at the district’s website willmar.k12.mn.us under Food & Nutrition/Applications and Forms.

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At Willmar School Board meeting on Aug. 10, Business and Finance Director Kathryn Haase urged all families to fill out the application.

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Willmar Public Schools Business and Finance Director Kathryn Haase
Willmar Public Schools Business and Finance Director Kathryn Haase

Breakfast and lunch for all students will be offered free of charge to all students in the coming school year, she said. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has made the option available to all schools across the country.

“It’s really important for families to fill out that form,” she said. “The percentage of students who qualify for free and reduced meals drives some of our district funding. ... So please help our school by filling out that form.”

In the last school year, it was more difficult to reach families, and the district struggled to get them to fill out the applications, she said.

Regarding school lunch, she said, families with students who order ala carte items or second entrees will still need to set up a lunch account to pay for those items.

Registration for students new to Willmar Public Schools is now available online, Haase said. Families that are new to the district can use the district’s website to enroll and no longer need to go to the district office to do it.

Parents who need to do an annual update of information like addresses or contact information can do that online on Parent Portal, a secure website for parents.

Those who don’t yet have an account on Parent Portal may contact the school office at 320-231-8500.