Why are families in some school districts getting $420 debit cards from NYS?

Why are some people receiving pre-loaded $420 debit cards for each of their children enrolled in school last academic year?

Families across the region and state have been reporting these unsolicited debit cards, which is funding intended to help pay for food for low-income students during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

However, according to a News10NBC investigation, there are high-income earners getting these debit cards, too.

One family in particular, whom News10NBC spoke with, were two teachers and their freshman college son. Both parents make a good living as teachers, but because of a federal program that gives free breakfast and lunch to all students in the Webster School District – the funding is an equalizer for the months of April, May, and June when schools shut down.

“People who don’t need it whatsoever will be getting it and that bugs me, that bugs me a lot,” Michael Pray told News10NBC.

This round of funding is apparently the third part of funding that first went out to those households with existing EBT cards, as well as those who receive Medicaid. That final leg included funding for districts that qualify for universal free breakfast and lunch based on community need.

In the Finger Lakes region, there are at least two districts that meet this criteria: Geneva City Schools and Auburn Enlarged City Schools.

As for Pray in Webster, he said that they would likely buy $420 worth of groceries and donate it to a local food bank.

Click here to check out the full-database being used by New York State to identify criteria.