By Porter Brooks, news editor
For the past two years, all students have qualified for free lunch and breakfast. At the start of this year, however, free meals disappeared.
On Sept. 9, Governor Tom Wolf announced his $21.5 million plan to provide free breakfasts to all students, regardless of financial status. This will take effect at Saegertown on Monday, Oct. 3.
Many students and parents have been wondering “Why do other schools in our area still get free lunch, but we have to pay for it?”
“We had free lunch during covid because the Federal government waived income guidelines,” school board member Jeff Brooks said. “We went back to the old guidelines. It is based on the poverty level.”
Brooks explained that PENNCREST does not have a “high enough” poverty rate. Our highest rate is around 54%, while schools like Meadville are sitting at over 70%.
This poses the question: “Should free lunch be a thing for every school, regardless of poverty levels?”
Junior Kylie Stafford says yes.
“I think there should be free lunches for everyone,” Stafford said. “It just seems kind of unfair to make some students pay and others not because some students are just barely not qualifying for free lunch.”
However, there is another side to this debate.
“I feel like the amount of money our school has should determine if the whole school gets free lunch,” junior Joey Petrucelli said. “But the people who get it now should keep getting it.”
Although students will continue to receive lunch at their current eligibility rate, the return of free breakfasts is a step in the right direction.
“We look forward to continuing to offer all of the student’s favorites to get the day started right,” Erin Gredler, PENNCREST’s director of food and nutrition, said. “And we’re very excited about the return of this program for the year!”
NewsMedia Program of Saegertown Jr. Sr. High School