CEP Information on School Committee Agenda for Sept. 2nd meeting

C.E.P would have POSITIVELY effective the Food Service Program by $320,000 in 2014

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Imagine with the increase in participation what it may due to assist the Lowell Schools?

In this week’s Lowell School Committee packet there is a report from the Supt. of Schools,Business Manager Frank Antonelli and Food and Nutrition Director Sharon Lagasse in regards to any financial impact that the Community Eligibility Community Eligibility Provision might have, especially in the first year. This information is posted on-line in this week’s School Committee Packet.

The following is a report on the motion below.
[by Connie Martin]: Requesting that the Administration update the committee on the new Community Eligibility and Direct Certification standards for the Free and Reduced Lunch programs and how these changes may impact the Chapter 70 Funding formula for the district in the future.

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) standards have remained consistent for the past three years, however the Direct Certification standards have changed to include participants who are receiving Medicaid benefits. The change in this Direct Certification filter was a tipping point for the Lowell Public Schools. This change increased the number of identified students, which then would allow the district to be reimbursed (from the USDA) for 97% of meals at the free reimbursement rate and 3% of meals at the paid rate. This reimbursement formula yields a better financial outcome than the current model of free, reduced and paid meals.

In regards to adopting CEP and the impacts on the Chapter 70 formula, the statement from the DESE is below, and also addresses other programs that use the free and reduced data. Also, in other conversations we have had with the DESE, they have stated
that for those districts adopting CEP, during the transition year, they will be held harmless in there Chapter 70 formula.
 The foundation budget, which is used to calculate both Chapter 70 school aid and charter school tuition rates, currently relies on free and reduced price data.

FY16 will be a transition year, using FY15 free and reduced price data from nonCEP districts and a combination of FY14 free and reduced price data plus direct certification for new students in CEP districts. For FY17 and beyond, we have recommended to the Foundation Budget Review Commission that the lowincome increments in the formula be increased sufficiently to offset the lower
number of students in the economically disadvantaged category.

 For grant programs that require poverty data for eligibility or entitlement calculations, the appropriate DESE program office will provide guidance directly to districts and schools.

 School building authority reimbursement rates are also based in part on low income percentages. We are providing information to the MSBA Board and will assist them in evaluating alternatives.

 Performance metrics in DESE’s school and district accountability system will be updated to reflect the new measurement. DESE will provide additional guidance to districts regarding this transition.

 Schools and districts that use free and reduced price eligibility for sliding scale fees or other local purposes may continue to do so. For schools participating in CEP, this may involve a combination of direct certification data and some supplemental data collection from families.

 Districts will receive updated SIMS reporting instructions.

In summary, adopting CEP means:
 All children in the Lowell Public Schools are eligible to receive a breakfast and lunch at no cost
 Students will no longer submit an application for free and reduced meals
 The school departments budget will no longer incur a debt for unpaid meals
 Revenue will increase in the school district’s nutrition program
 There will be no price increase for lunches, however, a la carte items will continue to be priced separately
 The reimbursement rate of 97% for free meals will be guaranteed for the next four years
 Participation in the school department’s nutrition program will increase.