R.C. Students At 7 Schools To Get Free Breakfast & Lunch (All Year)

Students At 7 Robertson County Schools To Get Free Breakfast & Lunch

ROBERTSON COUNTY TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch but if you happen to have a child enrolled in one of seven selected schools in Robertson County next fall, not only will your child receive free lunches but free breakfast’s too.

It’s part of a federally funded program called Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 or HHFKA. Program officials don’t like the word “free” and technically it’s not really free since the funding comes from tax payers, so from now on we’ll be calling it “at no cost.”

This special Smokey report will cover which schools will be receiving the free breakfasts and lunches and what you need to do (as a parent or guardian) to have your children participate in the “at no cost” breakfast and lunch program. In our video report, Smokey sits down with Patsi Gregory, School Nutrition Program Supervisor who encapsulates the program nicely for us. The text article below the video provides a few more details.

What is the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010:

Through The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA), USDA for the first time in over 30 years made significant reforms to the school lunch and breakfast programs by improving the critical nutrition and hunger safety net for millions of children. This Act was signed into law in December, 2010, and became effective July 1, 2012. This act restricted the amount of fat, saturated fat and sodium that could be served to the students and also required fruit, vegetables and milk to be offered daily, all within a certain calorie range. All school districts that participate in the National School Breakfast Program and the National School Lunch Program are required to follow the Act.

 What is the Community Eligibility Provision and Why is it needed:

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a provision contained in the HHFKA. It has been phased in over several years but will be available to districts in all states beginning with the 2014-2015 School Year. It is a reimbursement option for eligible local schools participating in both the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) that wish to offer school meals at no cost (breakfast and lunch) to all children in schools without collecting household applications. It is intended to improve access to school meals in eligible schools. In order to be eligible for participation in CEP a district and/or individual schools (individually or combined) must have a percentage of at least 40% identified students. Identified Students are students who are directly certified, which means they are eligible for free meals without the collection of applications.

Robertson County as a whole does not meet the 40% requirement. However, seven schools do meet this requirement and were approved by the Robertson County School Board to participate in CEP for the 2014-2015 school year. These schools are Bransford Elementary, Cheatham Park Elementary, Westside Elementary, Krisle Elementary, Jo Byrns Elementary, Springfield Middle and Springfield High.

In schools that implemented CEP in the 2011-2012 school year in Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan: Breakfast participation increased by 25 percent, from 44 percent in October 2010 to 56 percent in October 2012; and Lunch participation increased by 13 percent, from 69 percent in October 2010 to 78 percent in October 2012.

We are anticipating an increase in both breakfast and lunch participation at all the schools that will be participating in the program.

The Robertson County School Nutrition Program will continue to receive reimbursement from USDA for all meals served at all schools as has been done in the past. This reimbursement will provide the funds needed to support this program.

Will more schools be added in the future:

The success of CEP in Robertson County will be monitored during the 2014-2015 school year and decisions about continuing and/or adding schools will be made at the end of the school year.

School Lunch Prices: These are the same across the county and are set each year by the School Board. Prices for 2014-2015 are the same as last year:

Breakfast for all students $1.00
Lunch for K-5 students $2.25
Lunch for 6-8 students $2.50
Lunch for 9-12 students $2.75

When I became Supervisor of the School Nutrition Program in July, 2012, I became aware that the Community Eligibility Provision would be available to our district beginning with the 2014- 2015 School Year. I knew this program would be a tremendous opportunity for the families in our county and I began to learn everything I could to help in being able to make the decision about participation,” said Patsi Gregorg, School Nutrition Program Supervisor.

I’m excited about the benefit this provides to our county and appreciate our Director of Schools, Assistant Director of Schools and all of our Board Members for supporting and approving participation in the program,” Gregorg said.

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