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Schools get less reimbursement for free meals
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Sandy Dawes has given an update on the program which provides free breakfast and lunch to all students, regardless of income, in Warren County Schools.

Community Eligibility Provision, or CEP, is a non-pricing meal service option for schools in low-income areas. CEP allows the nation’s highest poverty schools and districts to serve breakfast and lunch at no cost to all enrolled students without collecting household applications.

Schools that adopt CEP are reimbursed using a formula based on the percentage of students eligible for free meals based on their participation in other specific means-tested programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

According to Dawes, director of school nutrition, there has been an 8 percent loss in money and Warren County is now at 76 percent for reimbursement for full-priced meals.

“This is our fifth year and we were getting 84 percent, which is a loss of around $25,000,” explained Dawes. “I project we will probably lose about $218,000 or rather, our revenue will be that much difference as far as breakfast and lunch reimbursements.”

Asked Helen Martin, “What causes that rate to do that, the number of students?

Answered Director of Schools Bobby Cox, “No, you have to use the direct certification list now from the Department of Children’s Services and that’s where we get our numbers from, which is how they determine the economically disadvantaged now.”

According to Cox, when CEP reimbursement goes down that means the number of people who are economically disadvantaged is getting better.

Before concluding her presentation, Dawes noted an interesting correlation that she found with the top five schools in Warren County that were identified as TVAAS Level 5 schools.

“I will tell you that those five schools are our five highest breakfast participating schools,” said Dawes. “There might be a correlation.”