There is a free lunch

Township adopts plan for 2019-2020 school year


Isli Trejo

Our cafeteria staff is busy preparing lunch for high school students. Beginning next school year, all students will receive a free daily breakfast and a free lunch.

Anna Eggers, news editor

Finding the money to eat lunch at school if you don’t have free and reduced lunch can be one of the most embarrassing and difficult hardships students face socially and financially during their years in the education system.

Students who are old enough to work for money are lucky, but elementary students who have no other choices — not so much. Fortunately, due to the extremely hard work of the Wayne Township Nutrition Director, Sara Gasiorowski and our Assistant Superintendent Cheri O’Day-Marcotte, our school district has joined a better future where all students will be receiving free lunches.

After years of having the majority of the population of our school qualify for free and reduced lunch, the district will be serving lunches and breakfast to all schools, from elementary level to high school. This possibility comes from the major Community Eligibility Program, a program led by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees all school nutrition programs in the country.

The process to approval wasn’t the easiest — to participate in the program, the district had to be approved through the federal requirement of Direct Certification. The township had to prove to the department that students are in need for this program. Gasiorowski has more details about the upcoming changes.

“All meals must follow the meal pattern requirements determined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  We are always working to provide fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain-rich items, and moving more towards clean label entrees for you — our customers,” Gasiorowski said.

Despite the changes in funding sources, lunches and breakfasts will remain relatively unchanged because of any outside forces — if we see a change in lunches, it will be to create healthier options for us students rather than worrying about new guidelines since we still have the same ones to follow.

We will see this program roll out in the 2019-2020 school year, which means that for the rest of this year, students will have to pay for lunches if they’re not approved for free or reduced lunch. Any outstanding fees for this year will need to be paid, but after this year those debts will be a thing of the past.

The lunch experience at our school will stay relatively the same as before — students will still type in their pin to show they’re only taking one breakfast and one lunch per day.

This plan was approved by our school board this past Monday.