June 13, 2023 – More GCS students will receive free meals next year. An additional 27 schools have qualified for Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) status, meaning because of the high need in the community, all students in the school may eat for free.
For the 2023-24 school year, 92 GCS schools will have CEP status, an increase from 65 this year.
Eleven elementary schools, eight middle schools and eight high schools will be added. They are:
“Through this expansion, 72 percent of our students will automatically have access to free breakfast and lunch,” says Superintendent Dr. Whitney Oakley.
Community Eligibility Provision is a facet of the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, which provides an alternative to household eligibility applications for free and reduced-price meals in high-poverty local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools.
A school will qualify for CEP status if enough of its students are directly certified through other means, including participation in the following programs:
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits;
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits;
Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR); or
In addition, schools may qualify if enough students are homeless, migrant youth, runaways or participate in Head Start or another comparable State or Indian Tribal Organization-funded pre-kindergarten program.
Families at non-CEP schools may still qualify to receive free or reduced-price meals by completing the application for meal benefits at www.lunchapplication.com. The application will open for the 2023-24 school year on July 1. Families at all schools are encouraged to complete the application, as the information can be used by the district to qualify for grants and other poverty-based programs.