December 6, 2021

New free breakfast program for students in Heard County

(Franklin, GA) — Heard County Schools will be offering breakfast to all students for free this school year. This opportunity is made possible by Special Provision 2, a provision that allows school districts to offer meals at no cost to students.

Each school will be prioritizing breakfast in the morning by offering an alternative breakfast program model, including Breakfast on the Go, Breakfast after First Period, and Breakfast in the Classroom, instead of the traditional breakfast model.

With traditional breakfast, students have the opportunity to eat breakfast in the cafeteria before class starts which requires arriving to school early enough to have this option and sometimes choosing between eating a breakfast or socializing with their friends.

Heard County Schools will be utilizing these alternative breakfast models to further ensure all students have the opportunity to eat a nutritious, balanced breakfast and start their day ready to learn.

Students will be offered an entree of whole grains or a grain and a protein, a serving of fruit, a serving of juice, and a milk. Students who start their day with this meal will have the nutrients they need to learn and won’t feel hungry throughout the morning.

Additionally, students who eat breakfast at school have been shown to have improved attendance rates, test scores, and general academic performance among other benefits.

Parents can rest assured that their students will have a good, balanced breakfast when they get to school which can ease morning routines. Parents of students who eat breakfast at school will have one less thing to worry about in the morning.

The new School Nutrition Director, Melissa Van Norden, has calculated that the loss of student breakfast payments of $0.30 for reduced-price eligible students and $1.25 for paid-price students is negligible compared to the probable increase in participation in the School Breakfast Program.

Ms. Van Norden has worked in Fulton County Schools and Carrollton City Schools.

Heard County Schools will continue to offer lunch at reduced and paid student prices.

While Special Provision 2 does allow school nutrition programs the opportunity to offer lunch at no cost to all students, it is not feasible for Heard County schools at this time.

Students who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals will still receive these benefits according to their eligibility at lunch.

All parents are still encouraged to complete a Free and Reduced Price School Meals Application for their household. Approval for free or reduced-price lunches is based on the gross income for the household. Parents do not need to complete a separate application for each child.

Students who were approved for free or reduced price meals last school year will continue to receive this benefit until September 17. Applications must be filled out annually.

The online online Free and Reduced Price School Meals Application will be available July 18 at

Parents who apply online can find out if they are approved within 24 hours.

School Nutrition Managers will be available during Open House on August 1 at each school to assist with filling out the online application.


  1. Seems to me they should include the teachers in this also seeing as how much they have to spend on school supplies.

  2. Tommy Callaway says

    Why don’t you tell what’s in it for the school system? If the system was not making a pile of money off this program that is paid for with our tax dollars, then they would not be looking into this stupid program. I am not a fan of the current “model” which require a student’s parent(s) to wake them up early enough to get their fannies to school early enough to eat a “free” breakfast in the cafeteria. Now these new models will only dump more on our teachers, increase housekeeping, and increase bug and rodent(mice) infestations. Who ever approved this new program should be tared and feathered and run out of town on a rail. HCSS had better re-think this one.

  3. Tommy Callaway says

    As one retired TCSS teacher replied to me, “This is the beginning of the end for HCSS being an exceptional school system.” What a shame.

    • Tommy, I have read your comments in the LDN for years with ammusment but for the most part think you were railroded in your election. However you should stay out of Heard County issues if you do not live here, thanks…

    • Mike Roberts says

      Mr. Callaway,
      It’s difficult to follow the logic in your comments. The lunch program is a federally funded USDA program. It’s impossible for the school system to “make” money off of it. Any additional revenue will be directly invested into providing higher quality foods for our students. The current federal guidelines regarding the nutritional make-up of the foods served make it difficult to provide foods that meet their guidelines along wtih foods that students love to eat (within the remimbursement limits that are given back to the system). Bottom line: More kids eating breakfast= more reimbursements from feds= better food choices for kids. Most importantly- kids get the nutrition that they need to be healthy and can hopefully focus on learning for the remainder of the day.

  4. Rodney Kay says

    Mr. Callaway,

    We have also learned a couple of things from other programs around us:

    You stated, “I am not a fan of the current “model” which require a student’s parent(s) to wake them up early enough to get their fannies to school early enough to eat a “free” breakfast in the cafeteria.”

    In response to your comment listed above: we won’t be serving breakfast to any Heard County student until after normal arrival time. Because we have a long school day already we will be building breakfast into our daily schedule. In fact, at Heard High, we will be offering this grab and go breakfast as late as AFTER first period. See what I mean? Most places would simply say, “that’s not possible” and move on, but we want our kids to eat! There is no student in Heard County who will be waking up any earlier so they can participate in the breakfast program.

    You stated, “If the system was not making a pile of money off this program that is paid for with our tax dollars, then they would not be looking into this stupid program.”

    Here are the monetary facts for our program if every child participates sir…………

    Revenue (coming from federal reimbursement) – $1,412,578.80
    Cost (our cost for purchasing the food) – $1,372,923.02
    “Profit” – $39,655.78


    The pile of money you’re referring to just isn’t true. Truth is we hope to break even, and we are committed to the program even if it costs us a little money sir. Things are different around here. And I promise you this, if our system does begin to spiral down hill it won’t be because adults in our community decided to feed every kid breakfast! It will be because adults started worrying more about what other adults think and begin making decisions based on what’s best for adults rather than PUTTING KIDS FIRST.

    You stated, “Now these new models will only dump more on our teachers”. If you’re referring to a teacher having to collect an order for her class or making sure the room is picked up then you may be right. If we have an adult in our system that wants to wipe out this program because they may be inconvenienced a little then they will likely not be here long anyway sir. Nobody in our system is above placing an order, picking up trash, or doing whatever it takes to make something work. This program will be no different. I have learned over the years that any program can work if the adults have the right attitude and are committed to doing it.

    Please call anytime so we can arm you with facts before you comment and attempt to run our community into the ground. We’re transparent, and we spend a great deal of time building trust in our community so please call us and fact-check before spouting such nonsense.

    Rodney Kay
    Heard County Schools

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