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Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)
Is the Community Eligibility Provision (Free Meals) good for our County?
With the implementation of CEP in some of our neighboring cities and counties I am sure that there will be questions as to why we are not offering free breakfast and lunch in our schools and these questions are valid ones. We have actually looked into this program in each of the past two years and have found it to be not presently feasible for this county.
The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a new program being implemented by the Department of Agriculture that will make all meals free in eligible public schools. Eligibility for this program is determined by the percentage of "identified students" in the year prior to implementation. Identified students are students proved eligible for free meals and are not subject to verification.
This definition includes students directly certified through a variety of state and federal programs. The percentage of these students is then entered into a formula created by the Department of Agriculture to estimate the amount of reimbursement to determine if the program is feasible for each individual school district.
In Washington County, only two elementary schools out of the fifteen schools in the County would meet the very minimum of qualifications to be eligible for CEP. Presently looking at the current number of meals being served through our School Nutrition Program, from a financial standpoint we would stand to lose a substantial amount of revenue monthly from our Program, this loss would put our Program at a considerable financial risk. Therefore, at this time the Community Eligibility Provision does not seem to be a good fit for Washington County Schools. We will however, continue to pursue this as new information becomes available in the future.
I hope this information answers some of the questions you may have about our School Nutrition Program. If you have further questions, comments, or suggestions as to how we can make our School Nutrition Program better, you can contact Francine Ivery at (276)-739-3030. As always, we value your input and would like to hear from you.