The St. Maries School District needs parents to complete applications for free and reduced meals.

St. Maries Superintendent Alica Holthaus told district trustees, at the Nov. 9 meeting, that parents have not filled out the reduced meal form this year because COVID-19 relief provided for meals without the form.

“USDA funded free breakfast and lunches for children age 1 to 18, so people aren’t filling out the form. That’s how they figure Title I. That’s how CARES Act funding was figured. Those forms are very important for parents to fill out,” Ms. Holthaus said.

The information from reduced meal forms also helps the city of St. Maries apply for certain grants according to Ms. Holthaus.

Ms. Holthaus acknowledged that the reduced meal form is difficult and said the district has help available for parents who need assistance to fill out the form.

“Unfortunately, the low number of families completing the applications may have an impact on future funding for our schools, our communities, and our county,” Ms. Holthaus said.

The board will begin to review what next year’s supplemental levy will look like.

Ms. Holthaus and the trustees expressed a desire to either maintain the current levy or reduce it if possible. However, a decreased levy is unlikely.

“I am willing to look at reducing it, but I am fearful of that because we do not have funding coming from anywhere else,” Trustee Sandy Kennelly said.

An increase in property owners in Benewah County may help lower the levy rate paid per person.

“We are not getting more money, but it will spread out to more people, more properties,” Business Manager Danette Cordell said.

An anonymous patron donated funds to the McKinney-Vento program.

“That money will be used purely for McKinney-Vento which is for homeless children,” Ms. Holthaus said.

District students have returned to the cafeteria for meals. Social distancing and sanitary guidelines are being followed.

Ms. Holthaus said the move back into the cafeteria will save money.

“Using the cafeteria is saving our food services program money because the packaging to send meals to the rooms is quite expensive,” Ms. Holthaus said.

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