SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- A school meal program that offers students free meals at no cost is undergoing a big change this year. It's all because of a shift in the local economy.
For the past four years, Springfield Public Schools has been able to provide free meals, no questions asked, at seven of its schools, but that will change this fall.
Chief Operations Officer Brett Yancey said they were able to offer these meals through a federal program called the Community Eligibility Provision. The program reimburses schools in low-income areas across the country so they can offer the no-charge meal service option.
Yancey said they applied four years ago and seven schools qualified: Douglas Gardens Elementary, Guy Lee Elementary, Hamlin Middle School, Maple Elementary, Page Elementary, Riverbend Elementary and Two Rivers-Dos Ríos Elementary.
He said when they reapplied for another four years, the program determined their schools no longer qualify.
On one hand, that means that the economy in those communities has improved. But Yancey said it's disappointing for families who do need this service. That's why the the district has its own free and reduced-price meal program that parents can apply for.
Yancey said beginning next school year, parents will need to fill out paperwork applications to ensure they’re signed up.
The disctrict said that online applications for the 2019-20 school year will be available later this summer, closer to the beginning of the school year. Applications will also be mailed to student homes by mid-August and are always available to pick up at any Springfield School and at the Nutrition Services office located within the district office at 640 A Street.
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