MANITOWOC, Wis. (WFRV) – The Manitowoc Public School District (MPSD) has announced that it will be reinstating its free school meals program after a request was approved by state and federal government.

The free meal program will return on Monday, November 6, with free meals being offered to all students regardless of eligibility.

The release provided by the school district states that the USDA approved MPSD’s waiver request to allow the district to rejoin the Community Eligibility Provision for the remainder of the 2023-2024 school year.  

“Amid continued community concerns about making sure no Manitowoc Public School District children go hungry, I have made the decision, with support from our Board of Education, to resume a federal universal school meal program this school year,” Superintendent James Feil wrote to families Wednesday.

Back in October, Superintendent Feil faced backlash over its free lunch regulations.

MPSD offered universally free meals to all families during the COVID pandemic and through the end of the 2022-2023 school year. Last summer, MPSD notified families the district would be returning to a free, reduced and paid school meal program. 

“We need to make academic learning our number one priority — and raise student reading proficiency levels from our current state of only 30% of K12 students reading at grade level,” Feil said. “This priority outweighs the financial benefit or burden of the food service program with before-school breakfast times.”

The district has reviewed the transportation schedules to ensure that all students who receive district transportation will arrive in time to participate in before-school breakfast if they wish.

“My bottom line is that I do not want any children to go hungry, and our principals and Solutions Teams will work to look for any children who may fall through any gaps to ensure they are fed,” Feil wrote.