BCSD providing free meals regardless of income with community eligibility program

September 01, 2023
Two boys and a girl enjoy snack time in the cafeteria at Sunnyside Elementary School

Kindergarten through 12th grade Burlington students are eating for free this year.

By participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service’s Community Eligibility Program (CEP), the Burlington Community School District is able to provide free breakfast and lunch to all enrolled K-12 students.

“We’re really excited about the opportunity and the ease that this program will provide to our families,” BCSD Superintendent Robert Scott said.

Meals that qualify for the program must include at least three of the four to five meal items being offered and one of those items must be a fruit or vegetable.

“We will get reimbursed from the USDA for that meal for a percentage of all our students,” said Food Service Director Brian Johnson. “All students eat breakfast and lunch for free so long as they take the reimbursable meal.”

Students wanting a la carte items still must pay for them as they are not included in the reimbursable meal. If, for example, a student brought a sack lunch but wants milk from the cafeteria, they will have to pay for the milk. If that student was to get a milk and two other items, including a fruit or vegetable, all items will be free to the student.

While CEP does not require the collection of household applications, Johnson said families who otherwise would complete and submit free and reduced price lunch applications should still do so as they are used to determine whether fees should be waived.