District's free meals program on hold due to contact negotiation

Vermont district's hope to start Community Eligibility Option stalls after state child nutrition office determines starting the program would require a rebid for the management company.

BARRE,Vt.—Plans to offer free breakfast and lunch to all students at Barre City Elementary and Middle School starting in the fall have hit a snag because of one of the requirements for participating in the federally subsidized “community eligibility” program.

The school board learned of the glitch on a night when members also agreed to rethink a plan to make a radical scheduling change next fall and were told the district was boasting a sizable surplus heading into the fourth quarter of this fiscal year.

In something of a good-news-bad-news update, George Mackey, of food service contractor Fitz Vogt & Associates, told the board that the city’s pre-K-through-8 school more than qualifies for a U.S. Department of Agriculture program to provide free meals to all students in eligible schools.

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