All Hermiston Students to Eat Lunch for Free Next School Year

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Beginning next school year, all Hermiston School District students will be able to eat lunch at school for free.

That’s because each of the schools within the district will participate in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) of the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, starting the 2023-24 school year.

HSD-enrolled students may participate in these meal programs without having to pay for meals or submit an application. This district designation may last up to four years, at which time HSD will be required to reapply or return to the traditional application process.

CEP, a key provision of The Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, allows the nation’s
highest poverty districts and schools to serve students free meals without the burden of collecting household applications. The option also streamlines paperwork and administrative requirements, saving HSD time and money. CEP gives food service professionals more time to focus on preparing nutritious meals their students will enjoy and gives students more time to eat those meals by cutting down on time spent in the lunch line.

Because all students receive meals at no charge, individual children at CEP schools do not have to worry about the stigma associated with a free or reduced-price status. And, by offering all students a nutritious breakfast and lunch at no cost, CEP boosts meal participation, helping schools ensure more students come to class well-nourished and ready to learn.

More information is available online.

Each year the district participates in CEP, all families will be required to complete a simple Family Income Survey that provides information to ensure schools receive the full amount of federal and state funding, that is based upon poverty levels, to ensure all students receive the services they are entitled to when free/reduced price applications are not collected. This survey will be available electronically or in paper format, in both English and Spanish. More information about the survey will be released to parents in the fall.

Any current outstanding balances on student lunch accounts are still due and must be paid in a timely manner. Federal regulations prohibit the district from waiving these past charges. Positive account balances may remain on lunch accounts for students to purchase al-a-carte items, or a refund can be requested by emailing busmgr@hermistonsd.org.

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