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Free Meals FAQs

Healthy School Meals for All FAQs


What is Healthy School Meals for All?

Also known as “Prop FF,” HSMA was approved by Colorado voters in November, 2022.  It provides free breakfast and lunch to students in Colorado schools, where the district has opted-in (BVSD has opted in).

Are free meals unlimited?

All students receive one free breakfast and one free lunch entree every day. Students who take a lunch entree may also take unlimited food from the salad bar. An example of a free breakfast would be a bagel with cream cheese, a berry smoothie, and milk, and an example of a free lunch would be tacos al pastor with pineapple salsa, and salad bar fruits and veggies.

It’s important to note that students must take a full meal for it to be free. That means that taking just a smoothie for breakfast, or just some fruit and vegetables from the salad bar for lunch would not be free.

Can students get free meals even if they brought lunch from home? 

As long as students take a full, reimbursable meal, it is free, whether they brought cold lunch or not. That said, we encourage parents to stop sending students to school with cold breakfast/lunch for a couple reasons. One is that we provide two full, nutritious, tasty, meals free to students every day. We make our meals from scratch and use top-quality ingredients, allowing us to provide excellent food that sets students up to thrive. The other reason is that we want to limit food waste. When students show up with a meal from home and then take a free hot lunch, they often end up throwing away their cold lunch. Instead, we encourage you to take a look at our BVSD Menus Page, decide which days your student would like to eat BVSD breakfast and/or lunch, and leave the cold meals at home.  

Will there be a cashier?  Do students still need to put in their PIN? 

Yes, there will still be a cashier, and students will still need to put their PIN when they receive a meal. That procedure will be the same as last year. 

Will there be items available for purchase? 

Yes. Students can use funds in their Student Meal Accounts to purchase second entrees and a la carte items when available.  These additional meals and items will not be included in free meals. 

Will students with negative balances be able to purchase food? 

In order to purchase a la carte items, students will need to either have money in their School Cafe account or cash. It will not be possible to purchase these extra items with a negative balance.  BVSD policy dictates that students coming through the school lunch line will be provided with a complete school meal regardless of their meal account balance. As a result of the Healthy School Meals for All Program passed by Colorado voters, breakfast and one lunch entree (with unlimited salad) will be FREE for BVSD students next year. Second entrees and a la carte items will be available for purchase. 

Is it still necessary to fill out the Free and Reduced application? 

Even though lunch is now free it is still very important that families complete the free and reduced meal application as it waives and reduces district-wide fees for things like athletics, technology, and extended learning. It also qualifies families for a 50% reduction in Lifelong Learning tuition, and waived tuition for BVSD Online classes (excluding the $50 registration fee). Child Care families will continue to apply for financial assistance through the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). Help will be available for those who need guidance filling out the FRL form during the BVSD Help Center. Visit the Free and Reduced Price Meals webpage for information on applying for free or reduced meals or contact your school directly.

Under Healthy School Meals for All, do staff eat for free?

They do not. Staff are encouraged to set up a Staff Meal Account by using the form on this page and purchase breakfast, lunch, and a la carte items. Pricing for these items can be found here.  

What if I used to receive a free service from a community partner because of my Free and Reduced status, but now I’ve been rejected as a result of Healthy School Meals for All?

There may be some confusion in the community about how Healthy School Meals for All operates. We are asking families to fill out the Free and Reduced Application, and those who qualify and present proof should still receive discounted or free services from community partners as they have in the past.  For example, some recreation centers offer a discount for free-qualified families.  If you have been rejected because a community partner thinks that everyone eats for free now and there is no Free and Reduced distinction, please email Lola, our Free and Reduced Specialist at dolores.campos-herzf@bvsd.org. We will contact the community partner to clarify the situation.