Free Meals for All Students at 35 Des Moines Public Schools

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School lunch. (WHO-HD)

School lunch. (WHO-HD)

DES MOINES, Iowa — Des Moines Public Schools will offer meals at no cost to all students at 35 schools and three early learning centers for the upcoming school year.

The program is called Community Eligibility Provision and is fully funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It covers the costs of breakfast and lunch for all students at these schools, which have been identified as having a high number of students living in poverty.

The school also won’t have to fill out paperwork dealing with free and reduced price meals. That will save the district time and money.

The schools that already have meals at no cost to students are:

  • Capitol View Elementary School
  • Carver Elementary
  • Edmunds Elementary
  • Findley Elementary
  • Harding Middle School
  • Hiatt Middle School
  • Howe Elementary
  • King Elementary
  • Lovejoy Elementary
  • McKinley Elementary School
  • Monroe Elementary
  • Moulton Extended Learning Center
  • Willard Elementary School

The following schools will now also provide meals at no cost to students:

  • Brubaker Elementary
  • Callanan Middle School
  • Cattell Elementary
  • Garton Elementary
  • Hoyt Middle School
  • Jackson Elementary
  • Madison Elementary
  • McCombs Middle School
  • McKee Education Center
  • Meredith Middle School
  • Mitchell Early Learning Center
  • Morris Elementary
  • North High School
  • Oak Park Elementary
  • Park Avenue Elementary
  • River Woods Elementary School
  • Samuelson Elementary
  • Scavo High School
  • Smouse Opportunity School
  • South Union Elementary
  • Stowe Elementary
  • Studebaker Elementary
  • Weeks Middle School
  • Windsor Elementary
  • Woodlawn Education Center


  • tricia

    Not sure how I feel about it! Not all of the kids in those schools listed are poor. So the government is once again paying for things that they should not. I have no problem of families/kids applying for free meals but not everyone in the school should receive free lunches. It is not fair to the kids in Des Moines West schools who live in rental units and are poor and should receive free lunches as well.

    • Dave

      If it’s about the cost, then look at total cost of administering the program may have been substantive.The cost savings of administration may be relevant in the decision. As to your second point, this program does not limit applications for free and reduced lunch at west des Moines schools

    • Jess

      Yeah, Tricia, I agree with you, it’s a mixed bag. I hate to see children go without good food. But, by paying for the meals for kids that could afford it, is that taking money away from the kids in other districts who cant’ afford it?

  • sara

    Do the families receiving food stamps get the same amount or is there less considering the city will be paying for about 40 meals a month for each child?

    • Val

      Well I’m pretty sure if the families get food stamps, they already get free food with the free and reduced lunches program.

  • lynda

    Any time help or assistance is provided to anyone it has to be a good thing regardless of social status or who provides it, kindness and caring, how can you go wrong..

  • Marcel Dubois

    Wow, what else can we do to add to the National debt? Lets help the ones in need only! Lets see what all those that complain about people gertting food stamp have to say about there kids accepting these free meals.

    • Susan

      Well, it almost sounds like this will save the schools money in the long run though. They chose the schools that already had the greatest percentage of children getting lunch assistance. So, the lunch was already being paid for by taxpayers. I would never want to deny children of citizens a healthy, hot meal. If I read it right, they are saying it costs them more to file all of the paperwork and administer the program then it would just to feed the rest of the kids.
      If that’s the case, I’m all for it. Otherwise, I would like to see the money for the kids that can afford it go to kids that can’t. And, not everyone who gets lunch assistance is a freeloader. We got reduced lunches. My dad worked 3 jobs. Unfortunately, because of the Depression, he was not able to finish school, so, his jobs were unskilled and low paying.

      • Kerry

        Saving the schools money is not the only issue. Cost-shifting hardly ever results in efficiency and lower costs. Anything the federal government does is more costly than locally based solutions.
        and remember… if you accept the assistance you also accept all of the control that comes with it. The potential of losing school lunch program money is what keeps states from declining to participate in other unfunded federal mandates. A reasonable analogy would be the 55 mph speed limit. The federal government threatened to withhold all federal highway repair funds is states didn’t lower their speed limits to 55mph. Only Montana withstood the threat.
        If the paperwork is the primary expense, it seems that school districts could eliminate that by declining to participate in the federal lunch program and maybe cover the costs of feeding all children by charging enough from paying students for food they will actually want to eat.

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