Students in Dexter, Chelsea and Saline start the year with some good news from the cafeteria


Photo by CDC on Unsplash

School districts across Michigan, including here in Dexter, Chelsea and Saline, are able to offer a huge benefit to students and families this school year when it comes to food and nutrition.

As local school districts started the start of the school, they let students and parents know of a new development for the 2023-2024 year.

“As part of the state budget for 2023-2024, Chelsea School District is pleased to be able to offer free breakfast and lunch for all students Pre-K to 12th grade!” said Chris Simpson, Food Service Director for the Chelsea School District in a back to school letter to families.

Over in Dexter and in her own back to school message to families, Wylie Elementary School Principal Katie See said, “We are so excited to be able to offer every student free breakfast and free lunch each school day thanks to the Michigan School Meals program! This program enables all public schools to offer free meals to their students by supplementing the USDA program. Our goal is to ensure that every student is nourished and ready to learn. We hope your students will join us for breakfast before the bell at school as well as lunch during the school day! Our meals include fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and a choice of milk. We strive to provide an interesting menu that is filled with as many Michigan items as possible.”

Dexter Community Schools Superintendent Chris Timmis said the state is providing free breakfast and lunch in coordination with the federal school lunch program.

Saline Area Schools Food Service Department said, “This means students 4 years old and above attending public schools will have the opportunity to enjoy breakfast and lunch at no cost throughout the academic year.”

The only catch to the program does have district asking families to fill out the Application for Summer EBT and Education Benefits with the Michigan School Meals Program. In her letter, See said this information is vital for school funding, as well as additional family resources like reduced internet fees, reduced sports fees, reduced college entrance exam fees, etc.

Timmis said, “Our funding for reading intervention and other support programming is based on the number of students who are eligible for free/reduced lunch according to the federal income guidelines, which requires us to continue to collect forms.”

This was echoed by Simpson, “This data determines several different funding sources that we receive from the state so it is crucial that we still collect it.”

The state of Michigan’s Department of Education announced in early August about this”

“Michigan’s 1.4 million public school children will be receiving nutritious free meals at school this year as a result of a $160 million appropriation in the state’s School Aid budget adopted by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor Gretchen Whitmer,” the department of Education announced on Aug. 4.

The Department of Education said Michigan School Meals will begin at the start of the 2023-24 school year to provide state reimbursement to schools for every breakfast and lunch served to Michigan’s public school students who receive meals through their school’s participation in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program.

“This is a win for Michigan’s public school children,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice in the Department of Education announcement. “The Michigan School Meals program is an investment that gives our children the opportunity to focus on learning and a healthier future rather than worrying about their next meal.”

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