Conemaugh Valley School District (CVSD) in Cambria County has recently signed up to participate in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).
Beginning in the 2016-17 school year, all CVSD students have access to free breakfast and lunch through the program.
Compared with the 2015-16 school year, participation in breakfast has increased by 33 percent at the elementary school and 47 percent at the high school. According to Food Service Director Jesslyn Anslinger, CEP has also provided a more relaxed environment. Since opting into CEP, Anslinger has noticed that, “There’s no longer that stigma since everyone is free.”
In addition to reducing the stigma associated with school meals, CEP also lessens the burden of paperwork. With CEP, reimbursement amounts are calculated using a school’s identified student percentage which includes students who receive SNAP, medical assistance, are designated homeless or are in foster care. Using that number, CVSD is able to claim the free reimbursement rate for 87 percent at the elementary school and 68 percent at the high school. The remaining percentage is reimbursed at the paid rate. Using this method, schools no longer have to manage free and reduced meal applications from individual families.
After making the switch to CEP, Anslinger also received some positive calls from parents. The program, she said, really made a difference to those families that were just above qualifying for free or reduced price meals.
So far the program has been an all-around success for school staff, parents and students. Anslinger said, “The CEP program is a great program that helps all of the families in our district. We have had much positive feedback on this program from our students, parents and even the teachers. Many of the teachers have told me that they feel that this program has been very beneficial to their students.”
For more information, contact Jesslyn Anslinger at firstname.lastname@example.org.