The grant is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the Community Eligibility Provision. Officials said it was awarded because at least 40 percent of the students throughout the district have a family income that was deemed to be at the poverty level.
"Not only will this eliminate quite a bit of paperwork for school administrators, but it will also save time in the lunch lines as our lunch aides will no longer have to worry about checking students' accounts to see if they have enough money to purchase food,” said Paul Salina, the New Britain School District’s chief operations officer.
Parents will no longer have to bother with paperwork for free or reduced meals, regardless of their income level.
"This is a program that will benefit so many hungry children and families and streamlines the process for the district as well,” said Kelt Cooper, New Britain’s superintendent.
The city’s Board of Education president said this was something that’s been in the works for several years.
"The Board of Education has been discussing how to qualify for universal free lunch for several years,” said Sharon Beloin-Saavedra. “The BOE is very pleased and excited to be able to finally provide this to all our students. It is always a good thing to feed hungry children. Feeding their stomachs and minds at school is a perfect match."
The Consolidated School District of New Britain features 17 sites, 19 programs and more than 10,000 students.
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