9/4 UPDATE: Newport News Schools did not apply for the free lunch program.
Officials say many of the city public schools participate in the universal breakfast program and this year the school district is launching an afterschool meal program.
They noted that about 94% of the students at Achievable Dream Academy qualify for free/reduced lunch so the majority of the students are already eligible to participate in the National School Breakfast and Lunch Program, as do 90% of the students at Magruder, 91% of the students at Huntington and 85% at Marshall.
They did say they'll monitor the program this year.
UPDATE 10:55 a.m.: 13 News Now has learned that three Portsmouth City Schools, Douglass Park Elementary, Brighton Elementary, and Project Uplift, have also applied to receive the benefit.
HAMPTON Students at six schools will receive free breakfast and lunch this year following our 13News Now investigation about the federally funded program.
We notified school officials about the community eligibility program, a new federal effort to give more kids healthy lunches beginning this school year.
Here's how it works. If many students at the school receive free or reduced lunch, then all the students can have free meals as well.
Many school officials didn't understand the new program, and worried the school district would have to cover some of the cost of expanding free lunch.
'At this point, we are under the impression the reimbursement will not completely cover the costs,' Hampton Schools spokesperson Diana Gulotta said.
'As far as your original question, it is worth noting this is a complex program. There are concerns about the cost to the division, because not all costs will be covered by the National Lunch Program,' Lauren Nolasco, of Virginia Beach schools wrote.
'It is our understanding that this newest opportunity, the Community Eligibility Program will have a flat rate reimbursement and meal costs in excess of the total federal reimbursement must be covered through non-federal sources,' Kellie Goral of Chesapeake Public schools wrote.
Our research proved otherwise. If 60 percent of students qualify for free lunch, the federal government will cover the school's cost at no charge, according to USDA officials. After we sent that information to Hampton Schools officials, they decided to sign up six schools for the program.
Parents will get the news this week that they won't have to pay for lunch at Tyler Elementary School Lindsay Middle School, Aberdeen Elementary School, Bryan Elementary, Bassette Elementary, and Cary Elementary school.
The deadline to sign up was August 31st, and several other local schools could have taken advantage of the deal but didn't.
Here's a list of schools that could be serving free lunch this year, at no additional cost to the district.
Achievable Dream Academy
Magruder Elementary School
Huntington Middle School
Marshall Elementary School
'Our Child Nutrition Department leaders are reviewing the details of this program. The school division will monitor the program this year,' Michelle Price, Newport News Public Schools said.
Seatack Elementary School
Thurgood Marshall Elementary School
Chesapeake Alternative School
Rena B. Wright Primary School
St. Helena Elementary School, Chesterfield Academy Elementary School, Madison Alternative School, Ruffner Middle School, Norview Elementary School, Richard Bowling Elementary School, Oakwood School, Suburban Park Elementary School, Coleman Place Elementary School, Lake Taylor Middle School, Ingleside Elementary School
Norfolk and Suffolk did apply to receive free meals for all students at the schools listed below:
Berkley/Campostella Early Childhood Center
Tidewater Park Elementary
P.B. Young Elementary
St. Helena Elementary
Booker T. Washington Elementary, Mack Benn, Jr. Elemetnary, and Elephant's Fork Elementary.