JCS expands CEP to benefit additional students Middle School students will eat at no charge next school year
From staff reports
Jessamine County Schools has added East Jessamine Middle and West Jessamine Middle schools to the district’s participating Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) locations for the 2019-20 school year.
The middle schools will join the Jessamine Early Learning Village, all district elementary schools and The Providence School in providing the program, offering breakfast and lunch to students at no cost.
The Community Eligibility Provision is made possible through the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 that allows qualifying schools to utilize information from other programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to determine eligibility for school meals. The CEP program is funded by the Federal Department of Agriculture and does not utilize state or local taxes for funding.
“We are excited to expand the CEP program to our middle schools next year, and to serve even more students in our district,” Supt. Matt Moore said. “Our schools that have already implemented CEP have seen an increase in the number of students participating in school meals, leading to a greater number of students getting the nutrition that they need. We’ve worked hard to improve our school meals and we’re proud of the taste and quality of the foods that we offer, making CEP a win-win situation for our families.”
While all students in CEP schools are eligible to receive one breakfast and one lunch each school day at no charge, CEP school families are still asked to complete a household income form (HIF.) This form supplies important information that is used by schools to apply for funding through grant opportunities and access other resources that support district students.
Schools also use these forms to determine eligibility for other potential savings for district families at the school-level, including reduced fees and other school-related charges.
Students at non-CEP schools will still need to complete a traditional free/reduced meal application (available online) to receive free or reduced meals.
Families with students in both CEP and non-CEP schools can list all household members on the free/reduced application and do not need to complete the HIF.
Jessamine County Food Service Director Lee Ann Conner encourages all students who haven’t had a school meal in a while to give it a try.
“We’ve expanded our menu options, added new products based on requests, done taste tests, and even worked with a professional chef on creative ways to improve our meals,” Conner said. “We want our families to know that we work very hard to make meals appealing and we’re constantly learning and improving what we offer.”
Conner also said because of the way that the CEP program works, the more students who eat at school, the more likely that the district will be able to sustain the program.
“Increased participation in school meals will allow us to continue to offer the CEP program,” Conner said. “It’s important for our middle school families to take advantage of this opportunity so that we will be able to continue to offer no-cost meals in the future.”