With new school year, Lowndes County Public School students will eat breakfast and lunch free

Published 4:33 pm Friday, July 11, 2014

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By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal
With the start of the new school year on Aug. 11, all Lowndes County Public School students will be able to eat breakfast and lunch free.
Lowndes County Superintendent of Education Dr. Daniel Boyd made the announcement at Thursday’s regular Board of Education meeting held at the Central Office in Hayneville.
Boyd said, “This is a program (Community Eligibility Provision CEP) that the federal government has in place through the state Department (of Education).” He said it is funded through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
According USDA, “The CEP allows schools that predominantly serve low-income children to offer free, nutritious school meals to all students through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.”
Also, “The CEP uses information from other programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Temporary Assistance Program for Needy Families (TANF) instead of traditional paper applications.”
Boyd said, “We applied for the program and were able to get approved. So, this upcoming year, none of the students will pay for lunch or breakfast.”
Boyd said about 97 percent of Lowndes County Public Schools’ 1,700 students eat free and reduced priced meals.
While Boyd said all the children can eat breakfast and lunch free in the coming school year, if they want more of an item, he said, they will have to pay the a la carte price, which is the regular price for that item.
With such a high percentage of students already eating free and reduced price meals, he said the change will affect about 40 students in Lowndes County who had been paying for meals.
“Whenever the parents don’t have to pay for something they normally have to pay for it is a good thing,” Boyd said. “We were fortunate to be able to get this program for Lowndes County… It’s a wonderful added bonus.”
According to USDA to be eligible for the program a school system had to meet a minimum level of 40 percent of identified students for free meals in the year prior to implementing CEP.
Boyd also announced that on Aug. 6, Teacher Incentive Fund grant awards will be presented at The Calhoun School. He said, “Last year we gave out $1 million in funds to teachers who have done an outstanding job.”
Boyd said half the awards would be given on Aug. 6 with the remainder given before the Christmas break.
Boyd reported that Medicaid reimbursement will be provided to the school district in the amount of $126,600. However, he said, a previously announced $75,000 grant for Head Start renovations will not be funded due to the unavailability of funds.
Boyd reported all but two students participating in the school system’s credit recovery program for The Calhoun School and Central High “are on target to complete the program.”
Boyd said that of Thursday night’s board actions all positions would be filled for the school system except one English teacher at Calhoun School, one English teacher at Central High and two elementary teachers.
The board approved resolutions in memory of former school system employees including bus driver Lillie Mae Bell, Calhoun School science teacher Annie B. Moore and Central High English teacher Erica A. Williams.

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