Summer meals will be served at three schools
School District 51 will re-open three of its school cafeterias today to begin serving summer breakfasts and lunches.
The meals are free to all children under the age of 18. Meals cost $3.25 for adults.
Through July 12, meals will be served Monday through Thursday at Chipeta Elementary, 950 Chipeta Ave., and Rocky Mountain Elementary, 3260 D 1/2 Road, and Monday through Friday at Clifton Elementary, 3276 F Road.
Breakfast will be served from 8 to 8:30 a.m. at Rocky Mountain and Chipeta and from 8 to 8:45 a.m. at Clifton Elementary. Lunches will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at all three schools.
Summer meal sites are selected based on criteria set by the Summer Food Service Program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reimburses school districts for summer meal costs if at least half of students at the schools involved qualify for free or reduced-price meals, the schools are in neighborhoods with a high concentration of low-income children, and an educational, recreational or social activity program is planned at the schools.
An educational program funded by school building funds or grants will take place at all three elementary schools in this year’s summer meals program. Grants and non-district funding paid for limited programming at a few schools in 2011 and 2012 as well.
This will be the third consecutive summer without district-funded summer school programming in District 51 after budget cuts in part steered by state revenue declines.
The district first shrank the number of students who could attend summer school in 2009, when the district cut $250,000 from the summer extended learning budget.
In 2010, the district cut another $40,000 and eliminated high school-level summer learning programs.
In 2011, the district sliced its entire summer learning budget of $875,000. That amount remained cut for the summers of 2012 and 2013.
District 51 Nutrition Services Director Dan Sharp said the summer meal program has remained in place for six weeks each summer, although at fewer sites than before, so that children who would otherwise have trouble finding nutritious meals while school is out have a place to eat.
The program begins a week early and will end a week early this summer to adjust to a new school calendar that starts school Aug. 12.
While Sharp said many of the children who will eat school meals will come from summer learning programs at participating schools, he said summer meal service always attracts children who aren’t in school over the summer.
“There probably will be approximately 100 kids a day at each site” who eat at least one meal, Sharp said.