CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Starting in September every student in the Cleveland Hill School District will receive free breakfast and lunch. The district was approved this month by the federal government to participate in a program called the Community Eligibility Program (CEP).
The federally funded program helps districts with poverty percentages above 47% to have free meals at school. Superintendent Jon MacSwan says 67% of Cleveland Hill students are eligible for free or reduced lunch.
"Free and reduced lunch numbers have significantly increased in the last few years," McSwan said. "We definitely see the need continue to increase and we hoping participating in this program will help everyone in the community."
The program will save the district around $5-6,000 dollars. McSwan says this year, the district had about $7,000 worth of unpaid student lunch debt, this program will wipe out that debt. McSwan says having the free meals will most importantly give the students the nutrition they need to succeed but also relieve some administration stress of collecting lunch debt.
"Students will directly benefit from having a healthy breakfast and lunch available to them every day," McSwan says. "On the administration side, it is also going to enable us to be a little more efficient on the food service side."
McSwan says nothing will really change with the meals the school provides--the only difference is students will not have to pay the $1.45 it costs for school lunch.