Parents of children enrolled in the Lovington and Hobbs school districts may have been surprised to learn their children will receive either a new Electronic Benefits Transfer card or, if they are already using an EBT card, will have money deposited on to it.
Since breakfast and lunch is provided for every student at both school districts, every student is scheduled to receive $299. The money is calculated at $5.70 per child, per school day, from March 16, the day school was cancelled, through June.
Lovington school parents were notified of the program in a message posted on the district’s social media page and Hobbs school parents were notified by e-mail on May 29.
The information provided to parents explains that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the closure of schools and because both school districts are what is called Provision 2 school disrtricts, enrolled students will receive the EBT cards to compensate for the meals they could have eaten free had school not been canceled.
Lovington school board member Greg Maxie said when Congress passed the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security), it included a provision designed “as a way to take care of kids.”
Maxie said two years ago the Lovington school district complied with the national government’s requirements to become a Provision 2 school district by collecting the required percentage of applications for free and reduced lunches sent home to parents at the beginning of the school year.
Assistant Superintendent of Hobbs schools Gene Strickland said as a Provision 2 school district, Hobbs can offer free breakfasts and lunches to all students.
“Friday of last week, we sent out an e-mail to all 10,000 of our students,” Strickland said. “All of our kids are eligible because we’re a Provision 2 school.”
Lovington Superintendent LeAnne Gandy said the district provided information on its website and social media pages.
“We’ve had 12,000 hits on the Facebook page, so we think the information is out there,” Gandy said.
Of the five Lea County school districts, only Lovington and Hobbs are Provision 2 districts.
School district officials at the other three schools said they believe families already using EBT cards will find the funds deposited onto them soon.
The New Mexico Public Education Department has created a dedicated hotline for people who need more information about the EBT cards. The number is 505-660-4822.