Universal Meal Program Headed to to Schools

Published 05/01 2014 05:18AM

Updated 05/01 2014 06:55AM

WINOOSKI, Vt. - At the school cafeteria every student has to have their pass code in order to get breakfast or lunch. Unfortunately that code can also serve as an identifier.

"Many of them will refer to themselves and each other by their school meal income category," Child Nutrition Specialist at Hunger Free Vermont Anore Horton said.

“‘I’m free. I'm reduced,' I've heard students say."

Horton says there are certain disadvantages to the current meal delivery system. Students either qualify for free, reduced-price, or full-price meals.

"Families are ashamed to complete the application. Students are stigmatized in the cafeteria," Horton said.

Students in Winooski won't have to worry about that next year. Every single one of them will get free breakfast and lunch as part of the Community Eligibility Provision. More than fifty schools in Vermont will qualify for the optional program.

"The schools that are eligible are the schools with the highest number of low income students in our state," Horton said.

Such as Winooski.

"Over 80 percent of (our) students who qualify for free or reduced lunch," Superintendent Sean McMannon said.

McMannon was the first to lead his school district to the eligibility provision. Schools qualify if at least 40 percent of students and their families are in state programs such as Reach Up and 3 Squares. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will reimburse schools who meet the criteria.

But if a school barely qualifies it won't get fully reimbursed, leaving town tax payers to pick up the rest of the bill.

"I think every superintendent would agree that having the ability to feed all of your students regardless of free or reduced price meals is going to improve learning readiness," McMAnnon said.

"SoIi think it's looking at the details and making sure it's a good fit for your community."

According to Hunger Free Vermont about one third of schools across Vermont have not submitted the necessary paper work to determine eligibility. The deadline to enroll in Community Eligibility Provision is June 30.

Hunger Free Vermont has compiled an unofficial list of which Vermont schools qualify. Note that this is incomplete.

Vermont Schools Eligible for the Community Eligibility Provision

(As of 5/1/2014)


District / SU


Addison Central SU

Bridport Central School

Shoreham Elementary School

Addison Rutland SU

Benson Village School

Fair Haven Graded School

Barre SU

Barre City Elementary & Middle School

Bennington-Rutland SU

Currier Memorial School

Burlington SD

CP Smith School


Flynn Elementary

Hunt Middle School

Integrated Arts Academy

ONTOP Horizon School

Sustainability Academy

Caledonia Central SU

Walden School

Caledonia North SU

Lyndon Town School

Franklin Central SU

St. Albans City School

Franklin Northeast SU

Berkshire Elementary

Enosburg Elementary

Richford Elementary School

Hartford Town SD

White River School

Lamoille North SU

Eden Central School


Johnson Elementary

Lamoille South SU

Morristown Elementary


Peoples Academy

North Country SU

Brighton Elementary

Newport City Elementary

Newport Town School

Orange East SU

Bradford Elementary

Newbury Elementary

Waits River Union #36

Orleans Central SU

Barton Graded School

Orleans Elementary School

Orleans Southwest SU

Lakeview Union USD #43

Wolcott Elementary

Rivendell Interstate SD

Westshire Elementary

Rutland Central SU

Proctor Elementary School

Rutland City SD

(not yet reported- at least 3 eligible)

Southwest Vermont SU

Bennington Elementary

Molly Stark School

Mt. Anthony Middle School

Pownal Elementary School

Woodford Hollow School

Washington Central SU

Berlin Elementary

Washington South SU

Northfield Elementary

Windham Central SU

Jamaica Village School

Marlboro Elementary

Windham Northeast SU

Central Elementary

Windham Southeast SU

Oak Grove School

Windsor Southeast SU

Windsor State Street School

Windsor Northwest SU

Rochester School

Winooski SD

Winooski Elementary School (JFK)

Winooski Middle School

Winooski High School



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