No Kid Hungry Urges Maryland Schools to Elect CEP in July 2020
Jul 14, 2020
Unemployment and increased use of federal benefit programs due to COVID-19 means that more schools are now eligible to use CEP!
What is CEP?
The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) allows schools to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students – essentially becoming Hunger-Free Schools.
More than 106,000 students in Maryland attend one of 242 Hunger-Free Schools; hundreds more are CEP-eligible, but not yet participating.
What are the benefits of CEP?
All students have universal access to school breakfast and lunch.
No unpaid school meal debt or school lunch shaming.
No need to collect school meal benefit applications.
Lower rates of food insecurity for students and their families. (Source)
Improved student attendance.
What does COVID-19 have to do with CEP?
Because of COVID-19, CEP will be financially viable for many more schools this year.
Students enrolled in TANF/TCA and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are automatically certified for free school meals and are counted in their school’s “Identified Student Percentage,” or ISP.
A school, or group of schools, must have an ISP over 40% to participate in CEP.
SNAP applications in Maryland quadrupled in just the first month of the pandemic.
The more students enrolled in SNAP, the higher the school’s Identified Student Percentage (ISP).
Why is ISP so important?
In CEP schools, federal reimbursement for meals served is based on the ISP multiplied by 1.6.
The higher the ISP, the more federal reimbursement schools receive.
A school with an ISP of 63% or above receives the maximum federal reimbursement for all meals served.
Why do schools need to consider CEP now?
The deadline to elect CEP has been extended to August 31, 2020.
This year, schools can use post-pandemic ISP data from April, May, and June 2020 to set their poverty rate.
Schools that elect CEP now can lock-in their poverty rate (ISP) for four years.
Contact your school district’s Food and Nutrition Services Department for more information about which schools are being considered for CEP in the coming 20-21 SY.
No Kid Hungry’s CEP Advocacy in Baltimore County Public Schools
More than 70 organizations and individuals signed on to this letter urging the election of CEP in July 2020
No Kid Hungry submitted these comments to the Board of Education on July 13, 2020 to encourage their support for CEP