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Department of Education to Expand Free Meal Program to 52 Public Schools on Six Islands

This upcoming school year, HIDOE will expand a USDA free meal program, called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), from 30 public schools to a total of 52 across the state. The CEP program allows a school district, a group of schools or a single school to serve free meals to all students even if they do not qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch reimbursements.

The CEP program allows a school district, a group of schools or a single school to serve free meals to all students even if they do not qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch reimbursements. Photo Credit: Department of Education

This upcoming school year, the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) will expand a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) free meal program, called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), from 30 public schools to a total of 52 across the state.

The CEP program allows a school district, a group of schools or a single school to serve free meals to all students even if they do not qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch reimbursements.

“We are very pleased to be able to expand this program to 22 additional schools statewide to provide free meals for over 8,500 more students,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.  “The program helped over 18,000 students to receive free meals over the past two years and provided significant relief for many families.”

The 22 additional schools being added to the program in school year 2017-18 are:

  • Oahu – Aiea El., Central Middle, Governor Sanford B. Dole Middle, Kaala El., Kaewai El., Kahaluu El., Kaiulani El., Kalihi El., Kauluwela El., Mayor Joseph J. Fern El., Palolo El., Puuhale El., Waipahu El. and William P. Jarrett Middle
  • Hawaii Island – Chiefess Kapiolani El., Hilo Union El., Honaunau El., Hookena El., Keaukaha El., Ke Kula O Ehunuikaimalino, Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole El. & Inter. and Waimea El.

The 30 schools already participating in the program in school year 2016-17 are:

  • Kauai – Kekaha El.
  • Oahu – Blanche Pope El., Leihoku El., Linapuni El., Maili El., Makaha El., Nanaikapono El., Nanakuli El., Nanakuli High & Intermediate, Olomana School, Waianae El., Waianae High, Waianae Middle and Waimanalo El. & Intermediate
  • Maui – Hana High & El.
  • Molokai – Kaunakakai El., Kilohana El., Maunaloa El., Molokai Middle and Molokai High
  • Lanai –Lanai High & El.
  • Hawaii Island – Kau High & Pahala El., Keaau El., Keaau High, Keaau Middle, Keonepoko El., Mountain View El., Naalehu El., Pahoa El. and Pahoa High

To qualify for the CEP program, a district, grouping or school must have a minimum of 40 percent or more of its students eligible for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program.

Currently HIDOE pays an average of $5.50 a meal (including food costs, labor, utilities, etc.). The USDA reimburses the state $3.89 for students who qualify for a free meal and $0.44 for those paying for a meal. HIDOE charges $2.50 for elementary school meals for a total of $2.94 in recouped cost for the state.

Under the program all students in the CEP school would qualify for the higher $3.89 reimbursement. While participating schools may no longer be collecting meal monies and ensuring accounts have sufficient funds, families will be required to provide information for data collection.

For more information about the USDA CEP program visit: http://1.usa.gov/1iP9FQI.  For details on HIDOE’s CEP pilot program, visit http://bit.ly/1Kh8SL1.

HIDOE’s School Food Services Branch has a website that will provide families at schools that are not in the CEP program with the option to submit applications for Free and Reduced-Price Meal Benefits online. For more information visit http://bit.ly/1VX1OID.

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