DES MOINES, Iowa — Students in all 60 Des Moines Public Schools will receive free meals next year – breakfast and lunch. The district says the announcement is “a dream that has become a reality” after years of incremental cost cuts.

According to a release from the district, they first started offering free meals to students at 13 schools in the 2013-2014 school year. That grew to 38 schools the next year. Now with an increase in funding from the federal Community Eligibility Provision through the USDA, the entire district qualifies for free lunch and breakfast for all students.

The changes will take effect on the first day of the school year in the fall on August 24th. The move comes as other districts around the state are making cuts to lunch programs due to rising food costs. The district says by eliminating payments it can also eliminate costly equipment for tracking accounts.

“This is not a time to raise prices on school meals,” incoming Interim Superintendent Matthew Smith said in a press release, ” We need to ensure every student has access to a nutritious breakfast and lunch every school day. It’s vital to their ability to learn and succeed in school and out in the community. This is about providing the essentials for every child and supporting every family.”