All students in the city elementary schools would enjoy free breakfast and lunch, beginning this fall season. Through a certification provision regarding federal school meals funding, all 8 elementary schools in the city had qualified for 100% meal reimbursements, according to the city schools food service director Sylvana Bryan.
The certification provision covers the “economically disadvantaged”, indicating that when there is 40% and above of students are qualified as being under low-income households, the entire district’s schools can be eligible for additional federal funding in covering free meals. Bryan said the percentage of certified students had increased, and so the federal reimbursement will proceed.
Within the city, all elementary schools had qualified for the threshold figure, thus, a 100% federal reimbursement is going to come, and she told the School Committee. She added that the funding would benefit the entire community, noting that the families in low-income households could save up to $475 per child annually.
She added that the numbers of elementary students who are eating breakfast and lunch on a daily basis could likewise increase. However, she was unsure if additional staff members will be required throughout the food service program.
The district will also need to determine the middle school and high school students who are eligible for the free or reduced-cost lunches individually. Throughout the 12 city schools, about 3,800 students are currently taking lunches, while 1,306 are taking the breakfast.
Superintendent Jason McCandless stated that the increasing numbers of students who take 2 meals at school every day, particularly those nutritious breakfasts might have a positive impact on the students from needy households.
To date, there are 294 schools within 22 districts statewide that make use of the community eligibility provision. The eligibility provision is committed to assisting districts with a relative percentage of students within low-income households. In the national perspective, there are 14,000 schools participating.
All city schools had previously had to send out and process an enormous amount of paperwork in determining the qualified students for the reduced-cost or free lunches, according to Bryan. However, she said, that laborious task will be eradicated at the elementary perspective. Any possible stigma related to the qualifiers is also eliminated.
Bryan said that when the 2 middle and 2 high schools were to be included in the provision, the calculations indicate the reimbursement level would be 89%, leaving the system to cover $7,000 every month, which she thinks is unacceptable.
The percentage of students in the whole school system was determined at 55.89%, while 63% only in the 8 elementary schools. The figure still triggered higher federal reimbursement level through the country’s Department of Agriculture.
The new certification provision for poverty levels, which has been set for a 4-year period, can cover some or all district schools. It will likewise be based on the eligibility of a household in order to participate in other assistance programs like food stamps or SNAP.
The recent “economically disadvantaged” designation for schools is likewise expected to eventually to be a factor in identifying state Chapter 70 aid, including Title 1 as well as the E-Rate funding to schools.