BRISTOL - All students in seven city schools can get free breakfasts and lunches this school year, thanks to the Community Eligibility Provision of the National School Lunch Program.
The provision allows participating school districts to provide free meals to all students at all times.
All students enrolled in the following schools will receive meals at no charge:
Chippens Hill Middle School, Greene-Hills K-8 School, Hubbell Elementary School, Ivy Drive Elementary School, South Side Elementary School, Stafford Elementary School and West Bristol K-8 School.
Household income applications are no longer required to determine eligibility for free or reduced-price meals at participating schools.
This is the first year 100 percent of students in all seven schools will be able to get free breakfast and lunch.
In May, the Board of Education approved 6-1 the application to apply for Chippens Hill, Greene-Hills, Ivy Drive, South Side, and Stafford to participate in CEP.
CEP was implemented at West Bristol and Hubbell in 2016-17. The new application renews their participation for another four years.
A federal program, CEP allows a district to apply for free meals for all students in a school, regardless of family income, when at least 40 percent are deemed eligible through the state Department of Social Services.
Receiving Medicaid benefits is now included as a factor for students to be eligible for free meals. School officials said that means the five additional schools now qualify for CEP.
At the time the application was approved, Superintendent of Schools Susan Moreau said signing up meant four years of CEP eligibility guaranteed, but the school district could opt out “if we see that it’s not working.”
“Research has shown that when students are well fed their student achievement is improved, their attendance is improved, and as a result of those two things, the school’s test scores improve,” Jill Browne, the school district’s finance director, said in May.
In addition to Bristol, Bridgeport, Hartford, Meriden, Naugatuck, New Britain, New Haven, New London, Vernon, Waterbury and West Haven also currently participate in the pilot program, she said.
For more information, write to Greg Boulanger, food service director, 480 Wolcott St., Bristol, CT 06010, phone 860-584-7984 or 860-584-7735, ext. 611043 or 611044, or email BOEFoodServices@ci.bristol.ct.us.
The press release announcing the schools’ participation states: In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations and policies, the USDA, its agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for previous civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.
People with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (such as Braille, large print, audiotape or American Sign Language) should contact the local or state agency where they applied for benefits.
People who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact the USDA through the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339.
Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: / www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html , and at any USDA office, or write a letter to the USDA and provide in it all of the information requested in the form.
To request a copy of the complaint form, call 866-632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to the USDA at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410.
Forms can also be obtained by faxing 202-690-7442 or emailing email@example.com.
Susan Corica can be reached at 860-973-1802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.