Students at Royhart-Hartland Central School, as well as Barker Central – and other area school districts including Wilson – will be eating for free in the upcoming school year under the Seamless Summer Option, a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program administered by the New York Department of Education.
In order to be eligible, the school district must have been participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or School Breakfast Programs (SBP).
Sue Bell, food service director for Wilson, said both breakfast and lunch will be served to all students, free of charge. The district will be reimbursed, she said, mostly through federal funds, as well as some state funds.
The SSO program substituted the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) in March of 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Julie Fuerch, food service director for both Roy-Hart and Barker school districts. This shift did away with the statuses of free, reduced and full payment for meals at school and made both breakfast and lunch free for all students.
The meals are in accordance with the NSLP guidelines, however, the rate of reimbursement to districts is higher and based on the rate of the Summer Food Service Program implemented in the past 2020-21 school year, Fuerch said.