Plano School District 88 recently sent an email informing families that the federal government has not extended waivers for the upcoming school year to allow free meals for all students. Families would once again have had to pay full or reduced prices for breakfast and lunch at the school.
In an effort to continue offering free meals to all students, the district’s Board of Education investigated an option called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).
After many hours of “summer homework”, the board recently announced that D88 has been approved for CEP. With this new option, all students enrolled in District 88 are eligible to receive a free healthy breakfast and lunch at school at no charge for their household every day of the 2022-23 school year.
In a statement, district officials said the CEP program “will be of great benefit to all D88 students.”
The district also provided answers to the following questions about the CEP program:
Q What is the Community Eligibility Provision (or CEP Program)?
A This is a provision that is part of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 that allows eligible schools to participate in a program that provides breakfast and lunch to all students free of charge.
Q When can my child start eating school meals free of charge?
A The CEP program will start on the first day of school or August 17th.
Q Do I still have to fill out an application for free or reduced price meals at the beginning of the school year?
A No, you no longer need to fill out any paperwork to receive meals. No further action is required by District 88 families for their children to participate in free breakfast and lunch.
Q Does my child have to participate in the CEP Program?
A No, participation is voluntary and students may choose to eat breakfast and/or lunch if they wish. Parents may choose to pack a lunch for their child if they prefer. All meals exceed USDA mandated requirements and align with USDA Dietary Guidelines.
Q How are meals paid for?
A The federal government reimburses District 88 for each breakfast and lunch served to help cover the costs of the food provided.
Q Will registration fees or my taxes be increased?
A No, as this is a federally funded program, it does not affect registration fees or local taxes. Registration fees will remain the same as last year and families will be assessed after the start of the school year. Families will be provided an Alternative Household and Income Form (HIF) to see if they qualify for reduced or waived fees. Some families may automatically qualify for fee waivers, if certified directly through the State of Illinois, due to SNAP or Medicaid benefits. Those families will not be required to complete the HIF.
Q Can school menus be viewed?
A Yes, they will be posted by August 12 on the district website.
Q Will students be able to purchase a second meal, a la carte items, and/or milk?
A Students in all grades can purchase milk, if they have money in their PowerSchool lunch account. Emily G Johns students may purchase additional food, after all students have been served during their lunch period. Middle and high school students may purchase second meals or a la carte items during their lunch period. Students may only purchase additional items if there is money in their PowerSchool lunch account. There will be no exceptions to this rule. Funds can be added by logging into the student’s RevTrak account.
Q Will my students’ PowerSchool lunch account balance be refunded?
A Yes, if your family balance is $25 or more. Otherwise, your child(ren) may use the money to purchase second meals and/or a la carte items. To receive a refund, email [email protected]