By Tamas Mondovics

District Provides Free School Lunch To All Students Until October 20

Hillsborough County Public Schools officials have announced a plan to provide free school lunch through October 20 to all students regardless of their eligibility status.

The temporary change spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is to make it easier for school districts affected by Hurricane Irma to feed students.  
The initiative is said to potentially impact more than 1,800 schools and 1.4 million children across Florida.

According to officials, the HCPS’s Student Nutrition Services team provided 34,000 meals per day to evacuees at more than 40 of its schools serving as shelters during Hurricane Irma.

More than 29,000 of our neighbors sought shelter in one of our schools.

In a recent press release, school officials emphasized that as many families lost power during the storm, access to hot meals for a period of time was limited.

Shortages of certain food products across the state also added to the already challenging situation.

“The free school lunches, in addition to the free breakfast which is already in place for all children, will ensure students have healthy, nutritious meals during this time of need,” wrote Tanya Arja in a release.

Students will only need to enter their student ID number after getting their meal in the lunch line.

HCPS Holds Bell Schedule Meetings

Hurricane Irma forced a number of meetings to be rescheduled. The School Board meeting originally scheduled for Tuesday, September 12 was rescheduled to Tuesday, September 19.

Due to this change, the district has also rescheduled its town hall style public meetings in connection with the 2018-2019 Bell Schedule.

The two meetings were held on Thursday, September 21, at the Riverview High School cafeteria, 11311 Boyette Rd., Riverview and on Tuesday, September 26, at Jefferson High School media center, 4401 Cypress St., in Tampa.

According to the district, thousands of students arrive late to school because the current arrival and dismissal schedule does not allow buses enough time to run their routes.

HCPS reported that last year, 12,000 students were late to school every day.

School officials also extended the new bell schedule survey to gather input from parents, students, district employees and the community through September.

Nearly 30,000 people have reportedly shared their thoughts using the survey.

The School Board is said to vote on a final bell schedule on Tuesday, October 17, which according to HCPS will give families nearly a year to make needed adjustments to their schedules.

Superintendent Gives Back To School Safety Tips

In a recent video presentation, Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Eakins shared a number of safety tips with parents and students.

Safe Routes to School (SRS) a national, state and county-wide effort is designed to promote walking and biking to school and making walking to school, safe, popular and fun for families.

According to school officials, the efforts are to help decrease traffic congestion around schools and increase safety, academic performance and wellness for HCPS students,

HCSO Transportation Department has collaborated with Hillsborough MPO School Transportation Work Group (STWG) chaired by Board member Cindy Stuart.

For information HCPS, please visit

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