Starting next year, students attending New Bedford Public Schools won't have to pay for meals.

In a written release from Superintendent Dr. Pia Durkin's office today, the New Bedford School District has been selected to participate in a new federal program called the "Community Eligibility Option", which waives meal fees for all children and eliminates the need for families to submit financial eligibility forms.

Beginning in September, free breakfast and lunch will be available to all elementary, middle, and high school students. Lunch will also be provided at no cost to all students in five private schools, including All Saints, First Church of the Nazarene, Holy Family Holy Name, St. Francis Xavier, and Nativity Preparatory School.

The program may even generate additional revenue for the school district, since all meals served in schools are eligible for federal reimbursement.