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September 19, 2018

Fulton Schools Offer Free Breakfast, Lunch for All Students


FULTON, NY – Fulton City School District has been approved for participation in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) offering free breakfast and lunch daily to all students districtwide.

Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, students in grades pre-kindergarten through twelfth enrolled at any of the six district schools: Fairgrieve Elementary, Granby Elementary, Lanigan Elementary, Volney Elementary, Fulton Junior High School, and G. Ray Bodley High School as well as students at Fourth Street CiTi BOCES location will be offered a nutritional breakfast and lunch each day, free of any cost to district students or families.

There is no application or fee required with no action needed from district families.

“They just show up, and students have free meals,” FCSD Superintendent Brian Pulvino said.

The CEP, under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, allows high-poverty schools or entire districts to offer all students breakfast and lunch for no charge due to funding from state and federal sources.

Fulton follows neighboring school district, Hannibal Central Schools, who implemented the CEP last year with great success, Hannibal Superintendent Christopher Staats said.

Fulton district officials took the year to follow Hannibal and similar districts implementing the program and do further research into the specifics of the CEP.

“We took a year to explore and observe. We really wanted to take our time to step back and make sure we understood what it entailed. Now, we are confident moving forward to the implementation stage,” Superintendent Pulvino said.

Both districts were found to be eligible as determined based on the population of “Identified Students” – those that qualify for free or reduced school meals without an application.

These children are directly certified, or eligible for free or reduced school meals without an application, because data matches indicate they live in a household that participates in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP,) Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Cash Assistance (TANF,) Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR,) or Medicaid, if identified as receiving benefits as part of the Direct Certification Matching Process.

Other qualifying students include those who are directly certified because they are in foster care, homeless, migrant, living in a group home as a ward of the state, or in Headstart.

At the time of application earlier this year, district officials claimed FCSD surpassed the required 40 percent of identified students, estimated at 52 percent of the district’s student population.

The program will remain in place in the district for four years, at which time, pending the program is still existing under federal government, re-application will be necessary.

“This opportunity starts at the federal level and is funneled down through the states. As we know, our government is constantly changing but we hope this program will continue to be in place,” Pulvino said.

Superintendent Pulvino said the district’s director of food services, Terry Warwick did a lot of the legwork in not only researching and understanding the program but preparing the district to implement it, including offering new and appealing food choices based on student feedback.

“She’s done a great job. She did most of the legwork and helped us really determine this was the right thing for us to do. This is something that will allow our food and nutrition services to remain strong and viable,” Pulvino said.

As the district moves forward with implementing the program, they will monitor food service production to ensure proper supports are in place to accommodate for anticipated increase in student participation and record such data.

District officials are hopeful to see an increase in students participating in school meals (generally recorded around 10 percent growth for first year implementation,) the elimination of any stigma associated with free or reduced meals, and the reduction of food problems for any and all students while in school.

“This is going to be great for our kids. We know there are a lot of challenges surrounding nutrition across the nation. It’s our goal to ensure all our students have the opportunity to eat a nutritional breakfast and lunch every day, the additional piece is that it’s at no cost,” Pulvino said.

For more information on CEP, or to find contact information for the district’s food and nutrition services, visit their website here.

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4 Responses “Fulton Schools Offer Free Breakfast, Lunch for All Students”

  1. Mike Otis
    August 8, 2018 at 8:32 am

    Just wondering why low income families cannot feed thejr kids a basic breakfast using food stamps? What did parents do 50 years ago to independently care for their own?

  2. THE WIZARD
    August 8, 2018 at 11:15 am

    50 years ago, they gave them a quarter for a school lunch and 3 cents for a pint of milk if the school provided lunch. If they didn’t, they placed a bologna sandwich (wrapped in wax paper) along with an apple inside a brown paper bag, or a metal Yellow Submarine lunch box.

  3. John cowher
    August 8, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    Wow !!! It’s come to the point that as parents we can’t feed our kids healthy meals ( even if we are on any or every government social give me programs ) now the government ( TAX PAYERS) also need to buck up for school meals too ?? Why don’t those that can work get a job if they don’t have one and those that do work budget their money and use coupons to purchase items and shop around to get the best deals week to week to provide for our children’s nutritional needs , oh and stop living above our means . I bet if we stopped just giving a fish to everyone that’s hungry and instead gave them that first fish to feed them initially but then give them a fishing pole and teach them how to fish so they can provide for themselves and their families for the rest of their lives . that would not only solve a hunger problem but solve a problem that’s out there that many may not realize . It would give them a sense of accomplishment and self respect and the joy of providing and getting up and going out and doing something to contribute! I am all about taking care of our kids and citizens that are on a down swing in life or have endured an unforeseen medical emergency (God knows I have had my fair share of those incidents in my own life ) . We need to get those that need help back on their feet not hold them up for the rest of their lives ! Schools need to get all that food money that’s coming down from the federal and state government and put it towards creating vocational training classes for our kids and educational programs that will give them life skills if they decide college isn’t for them ! Schools should be full of educators and look and act less like a department of social services building!!!! We need to make the RITE CHOICES THAT MAY BE HARD TO MAKE AND NOT EASILY SEEN INSTEAD OF THE REACTIONARY, WELL MEANING CHOICES THAT WILL LEAD US DOWN THE ROAD OF THE AVERAGE CITIZENS BEING DEPENDENT UPON THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE SIMPLEST OF DAILY NEEDS . We need to wake up folks .

  4. THE WIZARD
    August 8, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    50 years ago, I don’t recall anyone getting breakfast in school. It simply wasn’t offered or an option,… and nobody expected it to be.

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