A federal initiative has resulted in more students in poverty areas getting meals at school.
According to federal officials, over half the schools in high poverty areas are taking advantage of a new federal initiative that makes it easier for children to eat nutritious cafeteria meals for free.
Free meals funded by federal dollars are being provided to all children at over half the eligible schools, without requiring the application to prove low income status, as previously required.
Some schools have chosen to not participate for fear that not collecting the data would make it more difficult for them to access other government education streams of funding. Federal officals say that this concern is misplaced.
Income based free meal applications have long been seen as a barrier to serving more meals under the National School Lunch Program. This is the first year that districts can eliminate the application requirement.
“It is such a clear, right, correct and moral thing to do,” said Michael Hanson, superintendent of the Fresno Unified School District in California, highlighted as a model participant on a conference call with reporters.