Government Schools

West Hartford Public Schools to Provide Cost-Free Meals to All Students Beginning March 1

School lunches
School lunches. Photo credit: Christine Stuart, CTNewsJunkie.com (we-ha.com file photo)

Federal funding had been exhausted prior the end of 2022, and West Hartford Public Schools began charging for meals in January.

By Ronni Newton

Connecticut’s state legislature recently approved funding of breakfast and lunch for all students – regardless of need – and beginning March 1 all West Hartford Public Schools students will be able to obtain one breakfast and one lunch each day at no cost.

West Hartford Public Schools Director of Finance Elizabeth Hewitt had informed the Board of Education in December that with the drying up of federal funds that had provided free meals since the COVID-19 pandemic began, those who did not qualify for free and reduced lunch would need to pay for meals beginning Jan. 3, 2023. Although federal funds had run out, for the remainder of December the district used fund balance to continue to provide free meals to all students.

West Hartford Public Schools sent an email to families Wednesday noting that in accordance with guidance from the State of Connecticut Department of Education, “Breakfast and lunch will be available to all students at no cost starting March 1, 2023 and will continue for the remainder of the 2022-2023 school year.”

For students who would like to purchase additional meals, the cost will be:

  • $1.5o for breakfast at elementary schools
  • $1.75 for breakfast at middle and high schools
  • $3.25 for lunch at elementary schools
  • $3.50 for lunch at middle and high schools

A la carte items remain available for purchase as well.

The district will continue to collect applications for free and reduced-prices meals, to ensure families receive other benefits associated with eligibility, the district said.

The letter provided the following additional details regarding application for free and reduced price meals:

If you have not already submitted a 2022/2023 free and reduced-priced meals application, we encourage you to do so.  DO NOT SUBMIT AN APPLICATION IF YOU HAVE ALREADY SUBMITTED ONE OR IF YOU HAVE ALREADY BEEN APPROVED BASED ON DIRECT CERTIFICATION. Please go to https://www.whps.org/offices-and-programs/nutrition-services and click on the Free and Reduced Lunch tab where you have the option to complete an application electronically or print an application to be completed and returned to any one of the schools or the Nutrition Services Office.  You may also request an application from any one of the school offices or the Nutrition Services Office.

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