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Cumberland Schools Meal Change Goes Into Effect January 1

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Cumberland Schools Meal Change Goes Into Effect January 1

Cumberland County Schools preparing to speed up the lunch process beginning January 1 under a change from the federal government.

The meal change comes following new guidance measures issued by the USDA under the Community Eligibility Provision Program, or CEP. School Nutrition District Supervisor Kathy Hamby said students have been eating for free this year under piloting Provision Two. Hamby said the change will still improve lunch lines as students will have to execute fewer steps before getting their food.

“The Provision 2 students still have to enter their PIN number and the cashier has to make sure that’s them before they get their tray and go on,” Hamby said. “Because our reimbursements are tied to free and reduced and full-paid students. But with Community Eligibility we use a clicker because all kids are free.”

Hamby said students will still have to enter their PIN number if they choose to buy extra food with their lunch. Hamby said new USDA measures usually are enacted for the following academic year, however, for this issue they approved a one-time waiver.

“So that really speeds up the lunch line giving the kids more time to eat lunch,” Hamby said. “And also it does provide some additional reimbursement to the school nutrition program.”

Hamby said the USDA change that made the Cumberland County Schools eligible for the CEP program was the number of students meeting qualifications.

“There’s a certain percentage that you need to be at to be eligible to participate in the CEP program,” Hamby said. “USDA has dropped that percentage to 25 percent instead of 40 percent.”

Hamby said this immediately made the system eligible, as they were already right under the required 40 percent of students needed. Hamby said that the additional funding for the school nutrition program is much needed due to overall cost increases.


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