by Amy Bullock
The Edmonson County School District will be implementing the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) at Kyrock Elementary, South Edmonson Elementary, Edmonson County 5th-6th Center and Edmonson County Middle School during the 2015-2016 school year. CEP allows all students access to free breakfast and lunch at the participating school.
CEP was created as a part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. This program allows schools in high poverty areas to offer free breakfast and lunch to all students in that school. To qualify, a school must have 40% or more of its students eligible for fee meals based on certain benefits such as SNAP, Medicaid and Foster Child Programs.
“Implementing CEP is a great benefit for Edmonson County students and their families,” said Food Service Director, Amy Bullock. “Mornings are rushed in most households and many of our students have to be on the bus before they are even ready to eat breakfast. Sometimes this leads to breakfast being skipped altogether. Also, a lot of family budgets are just too limited to allow for the extra money breakfast normally costs at school. We have great lunch participation rates at all of our schools, but I expect those rates will increase also with the implementation of CEP.” The cost of breakfast and lunch to parents of a paying student was approximately $500 during the 2014-15 school year. “For families with more than one school-age child, the savings will really add up,” Bullock added.
“We know that well-fed children are able to focus in class and ultimately do better in school,” said Superintendent Patrick Waddell. “Participating in school breakfast and lunch helps provide nutritious food for your children at school so they can concentrate better and learn more, and saves parents valuable time and money at home. I hope all of our students at the eligible schools will take advantage of this exciting new program by participating in school breakfast and lunch this year.”
Principals of local schools are also excited at the opportunity to feed all students at no cost.
Jimmy White, Principal of Kyrock Elementary School, said "We are very excited to be able to offer both breakfast and lunch at no cost to all of our students this school year. This new program should be a savings to our families who have paid in the past and even though meal participation has always been excellent at Kyrock Elementary, I expect it to be even higher thanks to CEP."
“I am glad we get to offer this opportunity to all of the students at ECMS," said middle school Principal Brandon Prunty. "We'll have to make some minor changes to our morning routine, but they'll definitely be worth it to the students. Ensuring that everyone has breakfast will be a positive start to each day.”
Principal of South Edmonson Elementary, Jamie Woosley, said “I think this is a great opportunity for all students to participate in a program that promotes health and nutrition without any financial burden to their families."
Alan Talley, 5th-6th Center principal, said, "We are very excited about the opportunity for all of our students to eat breakfast and lunch at no cost this year. We are sure this will increase the percentage of kids who eat both breakfast and lunch on a daily basis. This program is a win-win situation for the parents, students, and our school. We plan to take measures at our school that will maximize student participation, especially in our breakfast program. We just ask that parents reinforce the importance of this program to your child on a regular basis."
Students at the CEP schools will still have meal accounts to allow students to purchase extra servings. You may still send money to school to be put into an account or you can make a payment online at myschoolbucks.com. Please be aware that any meal charges carried over from last school year will remain on your child’s account until paid in full. Students will not be allowed to charge extra servings.
Unfortunately, Edmonson County High School has lower qualifying numbers and will not be included in the CEP Program at this time.
“Eligibility for CEP is re-evaluated on an annual basis,” Ms. Bullock said. “We will keep a close watch on those numbers and hopefully we will be able to qualify ECHS for the program in the future.”
Families at CEP qualified schools will not need to complete the Free & Reduced School Meals application as they have in the past. In its place they can expect a Household & Income Form. “It’s crucial that parents complete this form and return it to school,” Ms. Bullock said. “Federal funding for many of our school programs other than school meals relies upon this information so please be sure and watch for this form in the back to school packet your child receives upon returning to school this year.”