ATLANTA (WAOK)- Georgia students are next in line to receive free lunches. Atlanta Public and Clayton County Schools will begin serving free lunches to students this upcoming 2013-14 school year.
Georgia has become one of the 10 states that have signed up for Community Eligibility Option which is a part of the $4.5 billion Healthy, Hungry-free Kids act that was signed by President Barack Obama in 2010.
Federal Education officials say the goal is to improve childhood nutrition, which if neglected can limit academic progress. The CEO program eases the application requirement that schools are required to fill out.
Officials say schools in high poverty areas where at least 75 percent of students qualify for free or reduced priced lunch, meals are provided to all students without collecting applications.
In Atlanta Public Schools 76 percent of students were eligible for meal assistance in 2010-2011.In Clayton County 82 percent of students were eligible for meal assistance in 2010-11.
This coming school year 58 schools will get meal assistance without applying. Officials say that it doesn’t make sense for high-poverty schools to go through the application process to identify the few children who do not qualify for free or reduced priced meals.
The CEO program is set to go nationwide in the 2014-15school year, but right now only 11 states have joined the program: Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, Ohio, West Virginia, District of Columbia, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts and Georgia.