LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) --- Lufkin ISD will participate in a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) next school year that will allow the district to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students. Currently, the district offers free breakfast to all and free lunch to those who qualify. Lufkin ISD administrators presented the initiative to the LISD Board of Trustees during a board work session on Tuesday.
To be considered for the CEP, districts must have an Identified Student Percentage (ISP) of at least 40 percent or more in order to qualify. Lufkin ISD has 62.7 percent. ISP is based on the number of categorically eligible students for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), Homeless, Foster and/or a State-Sponsored Pre-K program.
LISD Superintendent, Lynn Torres, said, “This will completely do away with meal charges. There will be no alternate lunches for students who forget to bring their lunch money.”
During registration, parents will fill out a form that will ask if they make below or above a certain amount. They will not be required to specify how much they make.
“I feel confident that parents will sign up especially if they know that it will help with our funding and that there is no identifying number connected with their income," Torres said.
Torres added that by moving to a free meal plan for the entire student body it also eliminates the stigma that comes with a free breakfast and lunch program.
Student Nutrition Services Director, Amanda Calk, said that the menus will not be affected: “We will soon be meeting with managers just like every year to discuss our menus for the next school year."
Mrs. Torres added, “We do not have any other schools in the county participating. Nacogdoches ISD did it last year. I would encourage parents and students to try the food in our cafeterias and see what delicious food we have to offer.”
The CEP benefits according to the United States Department of Agriculture:
- All students will receive access to free nutritious meals and will not have to wait in cashier lines, which means more time to eat.
- Parents will not have to worry about lunch accounts or applications, which means less paperwork.
- School staff will love the streamlined meal service operation and more time for students during lunchtime.
- Administrators will benefit from not having to track unpaid meal charges as well as teachers paying out of pocket for students without lunch money.
The only instance where a student would be charged would be for returning for seconds of entrees or other items, such as fruit or milk.
The CEP will begin next year and continue for four years. More information will be available at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year during registration.