JOPLIN, Mo. — The rules are changing on how students eat at school, but federal lawmakers are hoping to help make the transition back to normal a little easier.

Congress passed the Keep Kids Fed Act last week. It gives school lunch programs extra flexibility as the funding for universal school lunches phases out.

Joplin Schools is increasing the price of lunch.

They’re also bumping up federal reimbursement rates by as much as $.40 per meal.

“I think they’ve definitely got their finger on the pulse, I just think we’re going to struggle with two, two and a half years of everybody eating for free. Now, moving back to the traditional free, reduced, and paid system,” said Rick Kenkel, Joplin R-8 Food Svc.

Lawmakers had debated extending the current universal free lunches for another year at a cost of $11 billion but failed to find a majority for the funding.