Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Local News

May 13, 2014

Some Glasgow and Barren County Schools lunches will be 'no-charge'

GLASGOW — Glasgow and Barren County boards of education have approved participation in a Community Eligibility Provision program that would allow no-charge school breakfasts and lunches to some schools within school districts for the 2014-15 school year.

Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a four-year-old program within the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

According to a press release provided by Stacy Jessie, food services director for Glasgow Independent Schools, “Community Eligibility permits eligible schools to provide meal service to all students at no charge, regardless of economic status.”

CEP began in 2011-12 school year for schools in Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan. In 2012-13, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) added D.C., New York, Ohio and West Virginia, and in the 2013-14 school year, it became available in Maryland, Massachusetts, Florida and Georgia. In the 2014-15 school year, it will be available to all states.

Under this program, schools are determined eligible based on “direct certification,” which is data used from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Once 40 percent of the school’s students receive direct certification (DC) benefits, then that school is eligible, Jessie said.

The Glasgow school board voted for Highland Elementary, South Green Elementary, Happy Valley Learning Center and Glasgow Middle School to begin the CEP program, which will allow for no-charge breakfasts and lunches at these schools. Glasgow High School is not eligible to participate in CEP this year, but Jessie said the board will continue reviewing them to see if that changes.

Last week, the Barren County Board of Education approved CEP programs at the May 8 meeting; approving CEP for Austin Tracy, Hiseville and Park City Elementary schools as well as College Street Campus.  

Director of Food Services for Barren County Schools CheyAnne Fant said if the program goes well, they are considering looking at other schools within the Barren County school district to add.

“Those numbers change every year, and a lot of the schools were just on the edge,” Fant said.

Parents and teachers will still be paying full price for their lunches, as this only applies to students at these schools.

While GIS didn’t raise the lunch prices for the high school, BC school district did raise their lunch prices by 10 cents, which, according to Fant, was directly related to a formula they fill out at the end of every school year. This 10-cent raise does not include the CEP schools.

“The students at these schools will receive a standard meal that is no different than their current meal patterns,” Jessie said. She added that A la carte items, or extra meal items will have to be paid for out of pocket.

According to Fant, there is some research that shows that an increase in breakfast and lunch participation academically make gains.

“It’s such a wonderful opportunity for schools to increase participation and help kids meet those gains,” Fant said. “As well as help families within the district, and help the community as a whole.”

Across the GIS district, there are outstanding bills for unpaid meals equalling $29,000. While parents will still be expected to pay their balances, there is hope that having no charge meals for the 2014-15 school year will make it easier for them to pay, Jessie said.

“We feel that this is going to be a great way to help the families in our district,” Jessie said.

Parents won’t have to fill out the ‘Free Reduced Lunch Applications’ they typically have filled out in the past, however they are required to fill out ‘Household Information’ forms.

Once both districts enter into the CEP program, they will remain in it for four years. Though they have the option to opt out after the first year, no other districts in surrounding areas have opted out, Jessie said.

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