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Clayton starts Community Eligibility Option free meals program

JONESBORO — Clayton County Public Schools will implement the Community Eligibility Option for Free Meal Reimbursement this school year.

Spokesman David Waller said the district will be able to offer meals at no charge to all of its 52,000 students.

“This eliminates the procedure of distributing and processing meal applications,” he said.

The district is expected to participate in the CEO free meals program until June 30, 2017.

Nutrition Services Director Audrey Hamilton said the program is an opportunity to provide “no cost” meal service to students throughout the district regardless of their household income.

“We know that every student will benefit from our decision to participate in CEO and we look forward to serving our students healthy, nutritious meal to support district-wide academic achievement,” said Hamilton.

She said the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 includes the implementation of CEO to ensure that every student in low-income neighborhoods can participate in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.

Hamilton said the district stands to save roughly $407,000. She said parents who pay full- or reduced-price lunches for their students will save a collective $1.8 million. Adults will still have to pay.