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Free breakfast available this summer for District 54 students

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

MORRIS – Due to an Illinois mandate, children under the age of 18 who live in Morris Elementary School District 54 will be eligible for free breakfast on the days summer school is in session this year.

If more than 50 percent of students attending a district are eligible for free or reduced lunch, the district is required to provide breakfast during their summer school session, Superintendent Teri Shaw said.

“It’s for anyone under the age of 18, whether they attend our schools or [Immaculate Conception School] or high school, they are eligible,” Shaw said. “As long as they live in our district.”

She said the district popped above the 50 percent mark this year, after being between 40 and 50 percent for the past three years.

When the district reached 40 percent three years ago, it had to offer breakfast during the regular school year at both campuses, White Oak Elementary and Shabbona Middle School.

The breakfast will be provided at no cost to the student regardless of eligibility for free or reduced lunch.

“We’re not going to investigate or validate,” Shaw said. “If you tell us you are under 18 and you live here, we believe you.”

Chris Lines, food service director for District 54, said her department will serve a cold breakfast, which will rotate throughout the week. The menu includes whole grain cinnamon rolls, Poptarts, fruit and milk.

The students are not required to take the milk, but they cannot decline the main breakfast item to be eligible.

“The breakfast will meet the federal National School Lunch Program requirements,” Lines said. “All products are whole grain, and we always offer fruit or juice and milk.”

Lines said the average breakfasts served during the regular school year is 135 to 175 a day, but officials aren’t expecting that many during summer school.

“We really don’t know what to expect,” she said. “We are hoping to get 40 to 50 kids a day but we will have enough prepared to serve 100 kids.”

She said breakfast will be served on a first-come, first-serve basis to the first 100 kids during the first week, and they will adjust if they need to for the next two weeks.

The breakfast, which typically costs students $1.60 if they are not a reduced or free lunch program, will be free for the asking and the money will be reimbursed by the state.

Breakfast will be available in the White Oak cafeteria for three weeks, Monday through Thursday from June 9 to June 26.

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