Free Breakfast Now Available To All City School Kids
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There's no such thing as a free lunch, but Schools Chancellor Joel Klein said Friday, starting immediately, there will now be free breakfast for the city's more than 1.1 million students.
Klein said any student, regardless of need, can show up early on any school day for a healthy breakfast.
However, there will be a slight hike in school lunch prices for children not eligible for reduced-price lunch. The price will rise from $$1 to $$1.50.
It's all part of an effort by the Department of Education to encourage eligible families to apply for the school meal program.
The DOE points out the price hasn’t gone up in eight years, and is now more in line with other school systems.
At the same time, the city hopes the announcement of the new initiative will make more low-income parents aware they should apply for free or reduced price meals. Those applications in turn will help the system obtain millions more in federal anti-poverty funds.
“The lunch program is important because obviously we need nutritional lunches for these kids, and so many of our kids who are eligible for free and reduced lunch are not taking advantage of it,” said Klein. “If kids are not eating in school, that’s a mistake. Eating junk food or other things, that has an impact on their health as well as their education. We're getting serious about it.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg spoke about the breakfast change during his weekly radio address.
“The kids who come to school without a decent meal in his or her stomach, they don't learn anything,” said the mayor. “People say, ÎWhy give the kids breakfast?’ Well, if you want to educate the kids, which is in everybody's interest, they have to have a meal too.”
The Department of Education serves 810,000 school meals per day, the largest amount in the country.