Fort Wayne Community Schools will expand its no-cost meals to all of its students beginning next school year.
The district’s board on Monday approved a plan to offer no-cost meals to its nearly 30,000 students beginning in the the 2018-19 school year. FWCS had previously offered free meals to elementary and middle school students only, since 2014.
High school students will now enjoy the no-cost meals.
Breakfast and lunch will be provided to students daily under the plan approved by the board. A la carte items will still be available for purchase in middle and high schools, and students wishing to purchase extra milk will be able to continue paying for it through their prepaid meal account or with cash.
“This is a great benefit to all of our families, who often spend hundreds of dollars each year on school meals,” Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson said. “For many students, the meals they receive at school are the most nutritious – and sometimes the only – meals they eat. This ensures our students will have the opportunity to focus on school work during the day without being hungry.”
The no-cost meals are available through the Community Eligibility Provision offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the National School Lunch Program. FWCS is eligible to participate because more than 40 percent of students are directly certified by the state for benefits, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and/or Medicaid.
As of May 1, nearly 52 percent of FWCS students were directly certified to qualify for free meals.