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NECSD Announces District-Wide Community Eligibility

Free Breakfast and Lunch Provided for All Students

Students in the Newburgh Enlarged City School District will begin the 2016-2017 school year on the right track with free nutritious meals in school. Beginning in September, the NECSD will be moving to district-wide Community Eligibility. The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) provides an opportunity for districts in high poverty areas to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students without the encumbrance of collecting and processing school meal applications for free and reduced price meals. In addition, Community Eligibility allows families to reallocate the money previously used for the lunch program back into supporting their household.

“As a district, we have placed a premium on providing students access to healthy meals. Now every student, every day will enjoy a nutritious breakfast and lunch. Healthier students perform better academically. We are working to ensure that hunger does not stand in the way of any child’s potential for excellence,” shared Superintendent of Schools Dr. Roberto Padilla.

During the 2015-2016 school year, the NECSD began offering a universal free breakfast for students across the district in conjunction with moving breakfast outside of the cafeteria. According to Food Service Director Caitlin Lazarski, student participation in the breakfast program increased by 26 percent. Lazarski is hopeful that with Community Eligibility for lunch the district will also see an increase in students taking part in the school lunch program.

“As the Food Service Director and Dietitian, I am excited because we are now able to provide two healthy free meals to all of our students. I have witnessed firsthand how free breakfast for all students has changed the attitude and perception of the breakfast program and I am looking forward to seeing the same results with lunch. I also feel strongly that nutritious meals should be a benefit offered to all students. Just as the District provides teachers and textbooks, we will now also provide healthy meals at no cost to support student achievement. As a parent of an incoming Kindergartener, I am thrilled that my son will never associate the school meal programs with the stigmas of the past. He and his classmates will get to eat breakfast and lunch together as a school community of friends,” explained Lazarski.