Bibb County school board members unanimously approved a measure Thursday that would allow the school system to provide breakfast and lunch at no cost to ALL Bibb County students.
Cleta Long, Bibb's Nutrition Director, says this program is part of the federal Community Eligibility Program. She says right now, nearly 82% of Bibb County's students qualify for either free or reduced lunch. This new program will allow the roughly 5,000 paying students to also eat lunch for free.
Long explained how the program will actually bring about $1 million dollars back into the county's nutrition program this way:
- It costs the school system $2.75 for each meal served to students.
- Elementary students pay $1.10 for lunch.
- Middle and high school students pay $1.25 for lunch.
- The federal government reimburses the school system roughly $3.06 for each meal.
- The nutrition program keeps the difference.
Long says that revenue will go right back into the nutrition program, and will allow them to provide more fresh fruits and vegetables, better quality and more varieties of food.
School Board member and Treasurer Lester Miller called the program "a no-brainer." He says by providing all students meals at no cost, Bibb families will save $500,000, which he assumed would go back into the local economy.
Miller also said it simplifies the whole process because there is no paperwork required to receive the meals.
Long says Bibb parents will receive information about the changes soon, and hopes to have the program running within the next two weeks.