C.E.P Program – Providing TWO FREE Meals for ALL Lowell Students

Why isn’t Lowell already in? Why isn’t Greater Lowell Tech in? We have the oppertunity to feed ALL Lowell students two FREE meals, why are we NOT doing that?

This program has been available for the past year and the State held a training seminar this past winter. Did anyone from the Lowell School Dept. attend and are we participating this school year? Is the Greater Lowell Tech participating? If not, why not?

This is all pretty straightforward. As I stated yesterday, communities need 40% eligible under direct certification (some form of Gov’t assistance, SNAP for example) which should not be an issue if the total of Lowell students is 75% has this chart shows.

Screen Shot 2015-07-23 at 10.10.12 AM

Even if Lowell is at 53% which this State Eligibilty form shows, Lowell should be participating and so should the Greater Lowell Tech.

This would streamline paperwork and lunch lines, which I believe ( from listening to my daughter and her friends) is an issue for the kids and an issue from a scheduling standpoint in some schools. Can’t seem to see much “downside” for a system the size of Lowell.

A paid school lunch every day for two kids is $630 a year! If Lowell can save families that money, What possible reason would you Not try to do that? Especially for those families that just are over the low income level. There is no need to get reduced meals for some and full cost meals for others when you surely qualify for FREE meals for EVERYONE!

If I understand correctly the way this program works, The bonus of Lowell joining this is that we would get the entire federal reimbursement on the remaining 25% or 47% if the other Eligibilty list is correct of students NOT classified as Low Income instead of .26 per meal. How is that not A “win” for the City or the Tech?

What seems odd to me is that most School Districts and School Committees typically trip over themselves implementing these programs, trying to gain funds and positive press for the politicians. This is looking them right in the face and they seem to be ill – informed about it. I just don’t think the school dept or school committee understand it.

Are they too busy with the petty personal infighting to ask questions?
Does the fact we outsource the lunch program to Aaramark have something to do with not joining this program? Did the administration just not really understand how this program work. Did the Administration think participating put other grants in jeopardy and what specific grants were they concerned about? Did the administration get to caught up on the politics that they lost sight of doing something that served ALL STUDENTS?

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) provides an alternative approach for offering school meals to local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools in low income areas, instead of collecting individual applications for free and reduced price meals.

The CEP allows schools that predominantly serve low-income children to offer free, nutritious school meals to all students through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. The CEP uses information from other programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Temporary Assistance Program for Needy Families (TANF) instead of traditional paper applications.

To be eligible, LEAs and/or schools must: meet a minimum level (40%) of identified students for free meals in the year prior to implementing the CEP; agree to serve free lunches and breakfasts to all students; not collect free and reduced price applications from households in participating schools; and agree to cover with non-Federal funds any costs of providing free meals to all students above amounts provided in Federal assistance.

Here is a link that explains the program FAQ.

Here is an overview of the program.

I’ve emailed the new Supt. requesting he look into why Lowell isn’t participating and if they sent anyone to the State run meeting this past winter. He was kind enough to respond on a Sunday and promises to get back to me.

I’ve also found this about the 2015 School Year and this program.

Applications have been extended until August 31st 2015 to participate this year. Lowell and the Greater Lowell Tech still have time to get EVERY STUDENT two free meals a day. Why would we not do this?

We are encouraged by the remarkable CEP uptake among eligible school districts, and appreciate that about 50% of eligible schools are participating. However, there are still many eligible LEAs and schools that can benefit from CEP participation. FNS is extending the deadline to allow LEAs ample time to determine if CEP is a viable option in their schools. A similar deadline extension for SY 2014-15 facilitated a 22 percent overall increase in CEP elections, significantly increasing children’s access to nutritious meals in high need schools.
FNS is committed to serving as a resource to State agencies as LEAs and schools consider CEP in the upcoming months. FNS will continue to support States and LEAs by providing timely guidance, technical assistance, and other resources, including webinars, panel discussions, and outreach sessions to facilitate best practice sharing and address barriers to implementation. FNS encourages LEAs considering CEP to review resources available on the FNS website (http://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/community-eligibility-provision), including the Department of Education Title I Guidance, Questions and Answer guidance, and an Estimator tool designed to help LEAs with grouping and reimbursement estimates.
State agencies should distribute this memorandum to their LEAs as soon as possible. State agencies may direct any questions concerning this guidance to the appropriate FNS Regional Office. We look forward to working with you in partnership as we strive to reach our common goal to increase access to healthy school meals for our Nation’s children.

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