CHESHIRE — Breakfast and lunch will be served for free this year to all students at C.T. Plunkett Elementary School in Adams.
The free meals are coming thanks to a Community Eligibility Provision grant through the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, according to interim Superintendent Robert Putnam, who addressed the Adams-Cheshire Regional School Committee during a meeting Monday at Cheshire Elementary School.
The funding, provided to schools with a high percentage of students who meet income eligibility requirements, eliminates the need for individual families to apply for free or subsidized meals.
Information to determine eligibility is gathered from other sources, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Putnam said the program begins Aug. 31 and there is no need to reapply for four years.
School Committee member Darlene Rodowicz asked Putnam about the consequences to the program should the Cheshire Elementary School and C.T. Plunkett merge before the program's four-year term has expired. Discussions about eliminating one of the elementary schools are ongoing although which school would close and other considerations are not final.
Putnam said merging the schools would change the economic dynamic and likely would mean having to reapply or revisit the program eligibility requirements.
Putnam also told committee members that the Edward J. Collins Jr. Center for Public Management will conduct a study identifying and analyzing cost-saving alternatives for the regional school district. Meetings launching the study will begin by months' end and the target completion date is January 2017.
A team of experts experienced in education and government issues, several of whom have earned doctorate degree, will conduct the study, Putnam said.
There will be at least one public input meeting, he said, and he emphasized that towns need to participate with the study and provide information about existing trends and challenges. The $35,000 study is being funded with a grant, Putnam said.
Committee members and Putnam entered into an executive session immediately after opening the 5:30 meeting to discuss ongoing litigation. The public meeting resumed at about 6:20 p.m..
Committee Chairman Paul Butler said that the committee members cannot disclose the nature of the litigation at this time.