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School districts prepare to provide free meals to students next year

The state's Healthy Meals for All Program is finalizing plans with participating districts
Posted at 5:26 PM, Apr 10, 2023

WOODLAND PARK, Colo. — Colorado students can get free school meals next school year. Thanks to a voter-approved tax back in November.

The Healthy Meals for All Program will reimburse participating school districts for the meals they provide.

School districts do have to 'opt in' to the program.

The Woodland Park School District is one of many that have in Southern Colorado. Its superintendent said the school board had a few delays.

Superintendent, Ken Witt, said they had to ensure they could keep their third-party food vendor. They had to prove to the state that the company could provide the number of meals needed.

"We're remote, we're not in an urban area and we have a good partnership here that has provided great service to us for a long time," said Witt.

There are almost 600 students who qualify for free and reduced meals at the district, said Witt. He recommends families still apply next year.

"We encourage our parents not to forget, just because now lunch is free," said Witt.

Families who apply and qualify can also get discounts on transportation services, class materials and extracurricular fees.

The program will help eliminate the outstanding school lunch balance from the budget every year, said Witt. He said it's about $16,000 for roughly 1,100 families who don't qualify for free or reduced meals.
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