Florida districts differ on offering free meals to all at low-income schools

Monday, July 7, 2014

Many impoverished Central Florida kids eat their most nutritious school meals at no charge, but qualifying for the free and reduced-price meals can sometimes be a headache for families and schools.

Now, the federal government is serving up a new way of providing free meals at schools with high concentrations of needy students that eliminates the tedious application process and removes the stigma some students may feel when going through the lunch line.

Fifteen schools in Orange and Osceola counties last year implemented the program, in which all students at an eligible school receive free breakfast and lunch even though a small percentage might not qualify otherwise. Joining them are 19 other districts and 330 schools statewide.

But Lake and Seminole school officials declined to make the switch, which is available nationwide this school year.

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