PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — When students return to the Pittsburgh Public Schools for the coming year, they will get something many students in other school districts won’t get.

“A free lunch.”

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That’s right. Superintendent Dr. Linda Lane says there is such a thing as a free lunch for all students, at least.

“Students in Pittsburgh public schools will be eligible — all of them no matter what the family income is — for a free meal at school every day,” Lane told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.

The free meals, says Lane, are possible because of taxpayer-supported federal and state programs designed to make sure no child is hungry at school.

Dr. Lane: “Forty percent of the students have to qualify for free or reduced price lunch.”

Delano: “So if 40 percent qualify, then 100 percent get the free lunch?”

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Dr. Lane: “Correct, and of course we are at about 71 percent of our students who qualify for free or reduced price lunch.”

The superintendent says studies show that a well-fed child makes for a better student who has “mental alertness and ability to apply themselves to instruction.”

And Lane says the free lunches will be healthy meals.

“There are guidelines around sugar and fat and calories and portion size, all of those things that make it a healthy meal for our students.”

Delano: “So this free lunch isn’t pizza every day?”

Dr. Lane: “No, even though the children would probably like that, it’s not going to be pizza every day.”

Parents do not need to sign up for this program — it’s available automatically — and, of course, children are always free to bring their own lunches.

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