July 31, 2023 – Beginning with the start of the 2023-2024 school year, our district has been approved by the Illinois State Board of Education as a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) district. CEP allows qualified schools/districts to SERVE ALL STUDENTS FREE MEALS as part of the National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs. Both programs are federally assisted meal programs established under the National School Lunch Act.
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How does CEP work?
No sign-up or pre-registration is required, so families no longer have to complete free or reduced-price meal applications. All students regardless of family income can eat free, nutritious meals at school.
Every elementary and Dorris Intermediate School student can eat breakfast and/or lunch provided at school and will not be charged for these meals.
At the middle and high schools, where students are offered meal choices:
- If the student takes a full meal, breakfast or lunch, there is no charge to the student. Anything less than a full meal, just taking a milk or just taking a cheeseburger for example, will result in a charge to the student.
- The National School Lunch Program categorizes a full meal as: a fruit, grain and milk at breakfast; and a fruit, vegetable, grain, meat and milk at lunch.
- In addition, at Collinsville Middle School and Collinsville High School, a la carte items available for purchase in addition to a full meal, (extra milk, extra entree, separate items, etc.) are NOT eligible for CEP, so students WILL be charged for those extra items.
- Cafeteria staff will be able to assist students in navigating food selections.
Adult and visitor meals are not included in CEP, so there continues to be a charge: Adult and Visitor Breakfast Price: $2.00; Adult and Visitor Lunch Price: $4.00.
Any positive food service balance from last school year can remain on a student’s account and allow them to purchase a la carte food items. Re-loading money on the account can be done through Skyward Family Access. (Click HERE for meal payment options.) Furthermore, an outstanding food service balance from prior years will remain and should be paid immediately. Log-in to Skyward and use the Food Service tab to see your current balance. Questions can be directed to building principals.
How do students receive free meals at school?
From a student’s perspective, very little change will occur in our cafeterias. Students will proceed through the line and scan their I.D. or enter their assigned PIN so we can track the meals being served. (Remember: FREE MEAL = FULL MEAL)
How does CEP benefit students in our district?
Research has proven that children who have healthy meals learn better. School districts who participate in CEP see an increase in children who eat breakfast at school, which means students are more likely to start the day with a nutritious meal to sustain them until lunch.
CEP benefits families who no longer have the financial burden of paying for school meals. CEP also removes the social stigma associated with receiving free or reduced breakfast/lunch based on family income.
From the district perspective, cafeteria lines move more efficiently and the administrative burden associated with tracking meal payment and balances is diminished.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING FEE WAIVERS
Prior to CEP in our district, student fees were waived based on whether a household met the standards to qualify for free or reduced lunch. This year, if your household or family does not qualify for direct certification via Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, you MUST complete the Student Fee Waiver Application and return it to your child(s) respective school office as soon as possible. For detailed information regarding the fee waiver process, please click HERE.
Taking advantage of CEP eligibility is another way our district is working to support students and their families. If you have questions about the meal program or student fee waivers, please contact your child’s building principal.