Earlier this year, we mentioned Community Eligibility as a new option for providing school meals in a way that makes high-poverty schools hunger-free zones. Ensuring that children aren’t hungry in school can help them be better prepared for their primary job of learning. Community Eligibility allows eligible schools to serve free breakfast and lunch to all students without needing an application.
Earlier this year, the list of eligible schools was released. Of the eligible schools in Nebraska, 46 are in the Omaha Public School District. On Monday, I spoke to the OPS school board to encourage them to move forward to at least pilot community eligibility in the district this year. Read my comments here.
The deadline to move forward in the coming school year is August 31st. Other districts around the country are currently working to make schools hunger free. In Des Moines, schools are moving forward and estimating a $75,000 annual savings to the district due to the administrative efficiency available via community eligibility. In Chicago, all but one school in the district will be adopting community eligibility this year. We hope that eligible Nebraska schools will soon join them in ensuring that hunger isn’t a barrier to learning for our kids.