The Queensbury Union Free School District will offer its students free breakfast starting March 1 through the end of the school year.
Queensbury school officials are able to fund free breakfasts for the rest of the 2022-23 school year, said Superintendent Kyle Gannon.
“We’re excited to be able to offer free breakfast for our students,” Gannon said. “The last two years, students were able to enjoy universal free meals for all, and the number of students eating breakfast at school doubled.”
During the height of the pandemic, free meals were offered nation-wide.
“When kids were given the opportunity to eat breakfast, they chose to eat breakfast,” said Scott Whittemore, assistant superintendent for business.
When schools opened this fall, school meal programs returned to pre-pandemic operations, which meant that many districts transitioned back to requiring family applications for free and reduced-price meals, and students who are not income eligible were required to pay for meals at the paid price.
The Queensbury school district has been advocating with the state to provide free breakfast and lunches to all students.
Universal free meals for schools was not, however, included in the governor’s proposed budget.
Some neighboring school districts already provide free breakfast and lunch to their students because 50% of their students qualify for free and reduced-price meals, meaning they live with a family of four that makes $36,000 a year or less.
Queensbury is at 39% and does not qualify.
Massachusetts extended universal free meals for this school year and legislation is being considered to make the program permanent. Vermont and Nevada extended free meals for this school year.
All students eat free in Maine and California.
“We know how important it is for kids to be able to eat,” Gannon said, “and the food here at Queensbury is exceptional.”