Starting Tuesday, every student attending a Hartford Public School will be offered free breakfast and lunch every school day.
School officials made the announcement on Monday.
The meals will be offered regardless of residence or family income and was made possible by a regulatory change for school districts in high poverty areas. It’s part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs.
“I’m thrilled,” said Beth Schiavino-Narvaez, superintendent of Hartford Public Schools. “We know kids can’t focus on learning if they are hungry. Now we can ensure that all of our students will get nutritious meals without the burden of paperwork and eligibility requirements, which sometimes get in the way of students accessing school meal programs.”
The regulatory change gives eligible school districts the option of skipping the task of processing free and reduced meal applications based family income, according to school officials.
Officials said 35 Hartford Public Schools, mostly the neighborhood ones, were eligible to participate.
It’s also been expanded to include the 13 magnet schools, including:
Breakthrough Magnet, Capital Preparatory Magnet School, Capital Community College Magnet Academy, Classical Magnet, Annie Fisher Montessori School, Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School, Great Path Academy, Hartford Pre-K Magnet, Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy, Moylan Montessori Magnet School, Pathways Academy of Technology and Design, University High School of Science and Engineering and the Noah Webster MicroSociety Magnet School.
“CEP eliminates the need to collect funds and worry about what to do on those many occasions when a student doesn’t have enough money for a meal, but doesn’t qualify for a free meal,” said Lonnie Burt, the district’s director of food and child nutritional services. “It allows our food services staff to concentrate on what’s important – nutrition.”
For more on Hartford Public Schools, head to its website here.
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