All students in grades PreK-12 will eat breakfast and lunch free effective August 28, 2023, the first day of the 2023-2024 school year when the implementation of a major advantage to all families in the school district begins. The no cost breakfast and lunch servings on school campuses will be in effect for four years as part of a key provision in the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.
“This opportunity will allow all students to enjoy a nutritious breakfast and lunch without any pressures or stress of paying for meals that may be affecting the family budget,” said Jessica Price, Child Nutrition Director. “We anticipate much success with this program, including eased administrative burden, improved efficiency and increased participation in school meals.”
The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act is a meal service option for schools in high-poverty areas, which is calculated by the number of students eligible per school for free and reduced meals. CEP allows participating schools to provide breakfast and lunch to all students at no charge and without the burden of collecting and processing school meal applications. Instead, schools that have adopted CEP are reimbursed using a formula based on the percentage of students participating in other means-tested programs.
Since all students will eat at no cost, this necessitates the suspension of all charging options for meals. If students would like to add à la carte items to their meal, payment will be required at the time of purchase.
“We are proud to offer this no cost meals program to all of our families,” Price said. “As part of our commitment to the health and wellbeing of students, we continuously focus on opportunities that will benefit our school population.”
The Caldwell County Board of Education unanimously approved the Community Eligibility Provision for four years in the Caldwell County Schools at the School Board business meeting on May 8, 2023.