Mag schools to participate in CEP

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Magdalena Municipal Schools is slated to implement the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) for free meal reimbursement for the coming school year.

Magdalena Municipal Schools is slated to implement the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) for free meal reimbursement for the coming school year.

Through CEP, a school district, a group of schools or a single school may offer meals at no charge to all students. This eliminates the procedure of distributing and processing meal applications.

Dorothy Zamora, the school district’s business manager, said parents of low-income students now do not have to fill out application forms which ask for income information.

“That was under Provision 2 under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs,” she said. “With the new guidelines we only have to go by our Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) numbers. This means all students will receive breakfast and lunch automatically.’

The Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 includes the implementation of CEP to insure that every student in low-income neighborhoods or districts can participate in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.

To qualify, a district or school must have 40 percent or more of its students eligible for free meals based on direct certification.

“Magdalena Schools is 97 percent eligible through direct certification. More than double the threshold,” Zamora said. “In addition to that, this year we also received a fresh fruits and vegetables grant, which means our elementary school students will be getting a snack of fruit and vegetables in the afternoon twice a week.”

The grant is administered by the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service.

“By participating in CEP and eliminating the need for meal applications, Magdalena Municipal Schools will reduce administrative and printing costs,” Zamora said.

Families also benefit from the elimination of completing and submitting meal applications.

CEP is becoming available to the entire nation during the 2015 school year.