Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ballard County joins schools with free meals for all students

Ballard County is the latest in Kentucky where all public schools will provide free lunch and breakfast to all students, now that more than 40 percent of its middle- and high-school students are eligible for free meals. Elementary schools has already reached the required federal threshold.

Amber Hayes, the school district's nutrition director, told the West Kentucky Star that the change would save families $430 a year, under the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Community Eligibility Provision.

"The USDA’s formula for reimbursing the meals is complicated, but the Hayes said the bottom line is this: For the program to be successful and continue at BCMS/BMHS, more students have to eat breakfast every day, and every family needs to complete the Household Income Form that will be included in each student’s Code of Behavioral Expectations this year," the Star reports.

“Our lunch numbers are okay,” Hayes told the online news outlet. “But in the middle and high schools, only about 35 percent of our students eat breakfast every day. To make this work, I’d like to see that number up to about 75 percent.” To do that, she will offer “grab and go” breakfasts. “The lines will be shorter, and menus will be simplified, but they’ll still get a hot, balanced meal,” she said.

"Students will be able to enter their building and get a breakfast similar to what they might find at any counter-service or fast-food restaurant," the Star reports. "The menu will vary, but will feature items like chicken biscuits, whole-grain breakfast pastries, mini cinnamon rolls, pancakes, breakfast burritos and cereal bars. Milk, juice and fresh fruits also will be available."