State College Area schools will provide free meals to some students. Here’s who is eligible

Centre Daily Times, file
·2 min read

The State College Area School District will provide free meals to families who are eligible for reduced price lunches for the 2022-23 school year.

The board of directors unanimously approved a motion to use food service funds and grant funding from Giant Food Stores to cover the estimated $13,000 cost during its meeting Monday night. Randy Brown, the district’s finance and operations officer, said the district would also look at other sponsors for the program.

The program comes after Congress opted not to extend federal meal waivers that were put in place during the pandemic. For the past two years, all students — regardless of income — have qualified for free school meals. Now families are once again having to apply for free and reduced school meals. Around 20% of the district students are eligible for free or reduced lunches.

Families under 185% of the poverty level qualify for reduced meal prices, 30 cents for breakfast and 40 cents for lunch. Families below 130% of the poverty level qualify for free meals.

“So instead of charging them a little bit we can just provide free meals,” board member Deborah Anderson said. “I just want to say that I appreciate the proposal and think its a great idea.”

Those eligible for either meal assistance program can register at the Department of Welfare’s website at any time during the school year. Applications can be submitted online or printed out and submitted at district offices.

Families who are not eligible for the program will need to start packing lunches or sending lunch money at the start of the year. Here’s the price of meals at all levels of State College area schools for the 2022-2023 year:

  • Breakfast: $1.50 elementary, $2 middle school, $2.25 high school

  • Lunch: $2.70 elementary, $2.95 middle school, $3.50 high school

  • Milk: 65 cents

“Thank you to everyone in the district who has been working on this, and our legislators have also been working on this,” board member Jackie Huff said. “Any way to feed kids is a good thing and it’s not easy work.”