Sandusky Schools can dole out free breakfasts and lunches to all its students this school year.
On Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved the district for its National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, according to a news release emailed Friday.
The free program officially begins Monday, the first day of the 2014-15 school year.
"This is wonderful news for our parents and families," school board president Tom Patterson said. "It will allow students to eat a healthy breakfast and lunch and it is certainly an economic advantage."
Families do not need to fill out any paperwork or register to participate in the program.
Additionally, students can continue to bring packed lunches, or pay for a la carte lunches or salad bar, if they do not want the free traditional meal.
"All of our options are still available for students," superintendent Eugene Sanders said.
Sandusky Schools qualified for the free breakfast and lunch programs this year through a recently implemented "community eligibility provision," which aims to help high-poverty areas provide healthy, wholesome meals to students.
If a majority of its students meet income eligibility requirements, a district is eligible to apply.
Although Sandusky Schools students will no longer pay for their meals during the school day, the program is not expected to negatively impact the district's budget, Sanders said.
Rather, participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's programs will help the district qualify for additional federal grant funding in the future, he said.
"We were assured it will be a win-win for everyone involved," Sanders said. "I'm pleased to see members of our team seeking out options that provide this kind of advantage to our students and parents."
Want to give feedback?
Sandusky Schools officials have placed surveys and suggestion boxes in all school buildings for feedback regarding the new free breakfast and lunch programs.
Additionally, anyone can email questions or comments directly to district superintendent Eugene Sanders at firstname.lastname@example.org.