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Sugar House Journal

Granite School District is approved to participate in Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)

Sep 21, 2018 15h45 ● By Jana Klopsch

Blair Ewell’s first-grade class lines up for lunch at Longview Elementary. (Nikki Crown/City Journals)

By Nikki Crown | [email protected]

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a branch of the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs and was authorized by Congress as part of the Health, Hunger Free-Kids Act of 2010.

The program will help many students in the Granite School District who often show up to school hungry. The program will absorb the fees paid for both breakfast and lunch at no charge. There is no paperwork necessary, no account needed. This removes much of the stress parents experience when trying to provide meals for their children. The program also puts all students on the same level, erasing any stigma placed on students who may be on the free or reduced lunch program. The program is offered to all enrolled students in low-income areas.

“Schools that adopt CEP are reimbursed using a formula based on the percentage of students categorically eligible for free meals based on their participation in other specific means-tested programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF),” according to the website 

Schools that are now part of the CEP in Granite School district include: Granite Park Jr. High, Lincoln Elementary, James Moss Elementary, Redwood Elementary, Roosevelt Elementary, and Woodrow Wilson Elementary. 

This lifts a major burden for both families and school administrators and helps ensure students receive nutritious meals that allow them to be fueled up and ready to learn. 

Abraham Maslow, a psychologist most known for his publication “A Theory of Human Motivation” promoted the idea that if a person does not have their basic physiological needs met (food, sleep, clothing, shelter) other needs, such as social belonging, esteem and learning cannot follow up. 

By providing this basic physiological need the door is now open for these students to focus on their learning. Donna Hargens a superintendent at Jefferson County Public School in Kentucky has experienced the success of the CEP in her area. She told the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities that “you can’t learn if you’re hungry so we know that providing breakfast and lunch for more of our kids is a really important ingredient and that’s just integral to kids learning.”

As of 2017 there are 20,721 school participating in 3,538 school districts. Milton Collins, the principal of Lincoln Elementary, is excited about the possibilities this program will bring to his school. He said, “I think this is the best thing that could happen to this community. We have a lot of refugees at our school. This will help save lots of money for our families.”

The program helps reduce costs at the district level as well. CEP reduces paperwork and administrative costs, freeing up resources and staff that can focus on other educational priorities. 

Patricia Cunningham, a director of Nutrition Services at the district level said, “It is a dream come true to be able to implement this program…The district understands the correlation between good nutrition and learning… It is a program that will benefit community families and their children as well as the district.”