LEAs Now Have More Time To Participate in Community Eligibility Provision

June 17, 2014 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

burger-on-a-plate-517356-mWhen the federal government encourages grantees to do something, they should pay attention. However, when it “strongly encourages” grantees to act, they pretty well better heed that message. This blog post falls into the latter category.

The Food and Nutrition Service established the Community Eligibility Provision to ensure children in low-income communities have access to healthy meals at school. It allows participating high-poverty schools to offer healthy free lunches and breakfasts to all students without requiring their families to complete individual applications. Once initial eligibility and claiming percentages are established under CEP, they are guaranteed for four school years. There are approximately 3,000 local educational agencies (LEAs) and more than 22,000 schools that are eligible for CEP. For more on CEP, click here.

FNS notes that 10 states and the District of Columbia now participate in CEP. Beginning this upcoming school year, eligible LEAs and schools in all states may elect to participate in CEP. Because it deems this initiative so worthy, FNS has extended the date for LEAs to participate in the program from June 30 to Aug. 31. “State agencies must accept any LEA elections submitted on or before that date,” FNS said in a recent memo to state educational agencies. “In addition, FNS strongly encourages state agencies to accept elections received after Aug. 31, where appropriate and feasible to do so. [Also,] FNS strongly encourages those schools and LEAs that have yet to elect CEP to review these resources and carefully consider the positive impact that CEP can have in their communities.”

Wow, that’s two “strongly encourages” right there. Consider this item critical because FNS is committed to this program and wants to aid low-income families as best it can. Use this extra time wisely!

Do you have experience with the Community Eligibility Provision? What are your thoughts about it? Let us know.

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