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All Students to Receive Free Breakfast/Lunch Starting July 1st

kids smiling at school lunch table

We are extremely excited to announce that all Ken-Ton School District students in Gr. K-12 will receive free breakfast and lunch meals next year (2023-24) thanks to the hard work of our Food Service Department led by Director Kim Roll and Assistant Director Kristin Kryszczuk. Beginning next year, all schools will be designated as CEP (Community Eligibility Provision) schools for the very first time. Until now, only five of our schools had this designation: Franklin Elementary, Franklin Middle, Holmes Elementary, Hoover Elementary, and Hoover Middle. All students at these five schools were able to receive free meals. Other schools (Edison Elementary, Lindbergh Elementary, Big Picture, Kenmore East, and Kenmore West) were not designated as CEP schools, so students at these schools who were not already eligible for free/reduced-price lunch had to pay full price for meals. This will no longer be the case beginning July 1st.

We were fortunate to be able to provide free breakfast/lunch for all students during the COVID-19 pandemic, but this expired at the start of the 2022-23 school year. During the New York State budget development process, there were proposals to make meals free for all students across the state. Ultimately, this proposal was not included in the final budget approved by Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature, though the budget did include expanded eligibility for schools to qualify for the CEP designation. Our Food Service Department immediately took steps to apply and secure the CEP designation for all schools district-wide and we learned last month that this application was approved.

Kids selecting food in a lunch line

It has been demonstrated that students who have access to nutritious meals perform better in school. Beginning July 1st, all Ken-Ton School District students will once again be eligible to receive free breakfast/lunch at each of our schools. We strongly encourage all families to take advantage of this opportunity. Our Food Service Department is second to none and works extremely hard to provide delicious and nutritious meals for students every day of the year. We pride ourselves on providing a diverse selection of options that students enjoy, incorporating fresh locally-grown fruits and vegetables whenever possible.

Although students will automatically be eligible to receive free meals, it is important to note that families will be asked to complete food service paperwork in the fall. Completing the form ensures individual eligibility for certain state and federal programs as well as additional school funding, so it is extremely important for all families to return it. You can expect to receive additional information in September.

kids holding up microgreens salad