McKeesport Area students may 'have their cake and eat it too'
McKeesport Area School District students may have all of their breakfasts and lunches paid for through a federal program.
Kelly Patterson, regional director of the district's food service management company Nutrition Inc., introduced the possibility at a workshop meeting on Wednesday.
“There would be no more charging of meals when Johnny forgot his lunch money at home,” Patterson said. “Everybody would eat for free. It's a ‘have your cake and eat it too' program at the moment.”
Community Eligibility Provision is a four-year program through the federal Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act.
The 2014-2015 school year is the first one in which Pennsylvania school districts are eligible. The state Department of Education is handling the application process, which is projected to begin in May.
“That's got some great potential,” assistant superintendent Harry Bauman said.
McKeesport Area's breakfasts now cost less than $1, and lunches are less than $2 district-wide.
The current nutrition program for the upcoming school year includes a 5 cent per meal increase.
Patterson said districts qualify for the program if at least 40 percent of students are deemed to be directly certified. Those are students whose families do not submit paper applications for free or reduced meals. Instead, their eligibility is determined directly by the state because of reasons including the receipt of food stamps, medical assistance, being foster students or being deemed homeless, Patterson said.
McKeesport Area has approximately 3,800 students, and about 61 percent are directly certified.
The district could gain approximately $116,000 in reimbursements through the Community Eligibility Provision, compared to its current system with paper applications and some students paying full price for meals.
“(The district) would claim around 99 percent at a free rate, and about 1 percent at a paid rate, although everyone would eat for no charge,” Patterson said.
Bauman said the district needs to research whether the program affects Title 1 and E-Rate programs. Title 1 provides financial assistance to local schools and educational agencies with high numbers of children from low-income families. E-Rate provides discounted telecommunication services.
It does not affect the district's dinner program, which provides free meals to students after school through the federal Child and Adult Care Food program. More information is expected to be released in the coming weeks.
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Cemetery in Munhall considers filing for bankruptcy
- McKeesport salons merge
- Steel Valley keeps taxes flat in 2015-16 budget
- East Allegheny officials willing to continue contract talks
- UPMC McKeesport’s stroke team recognized
- Ex-S. Allegheny teacher held on sex assault counts
- Organizers prepare for Warrior Run fundraiser
- Students benefit from annual Brewster-sponsored government seminar
- East Allegheny teachers union rejects arbitration award
- McKeesport Area directors OK tax hike in preliminary budget
- Pittsburgh bicyclist pedaling for pets