According to the Kennebec Journal, four cafeteria staff within the Augusta Public School system have been laid off.

The layoffs come as a result of fewer school lunches being served under the free and reduced lunch programs. That is a direct result of children learning remotely and/or only going to school a few days a week as opposed to a normal school year's full 5-day-a-week schedule. In January of 2020, the lunch program served 22,789 lunches compared to just 11,489 for January of this year.

The amount of federal and state funding that is provided to schools for the lunch program is a direct result of how many free/reduced lunches the school is actually serving. Because Augusta schools are serving fewer lunches, they are subsequently getting less funding. However, students learning at home do have the option to pick lunch up at school that day, or to take home three days worth of lunches at a time ahead of the remote portion of their schedule.

The positions that were laid off include three full-time staff members and one part-time staff member. The school board discussed the layoffs a couple nights ago and it was determined that this move will save the schools about $55,000.

There was no immediate word on the expected duration of the layoffs.

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