JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) – All public school students in a low-income district in western Pennsylvania will receive free school breakfasts and lunches.

The Greater Johnstown School District qualifies for the meals under the community eligibility provision of the federal school lunch program.

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The program allows districts that serve mostly low-income families to provide free meals without requiring students to individually apply for the benefit.

Officials say that reduces paperwork for district officials and takes away the potential stigma associated with receiving free breakfast and lunch.

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Superintendent Gerald Zahorchak says he expects the free food will have a widespread, positive effect on the district’s 3,100 students.

He tells the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat that eating breakfast can improve attendance and academic performance, and reduce disciplinary issues.

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