In the 2015-2016 school year, 4,000 new schools took advantage of the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) option that allows eligible high-poverty schools to offer meals to all students at no charge, according to a new report from the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).
The increase brings CEP participation totals to 3,000 school districts and 18,000 schools—which is more than half of all schools meeting CEP eligibility criteria—and affects more than 8.5 million students. Due in part to CEP, more than 90,000 schools and child care sites now participate in the School Breakfast Program, an increase of 27 percent since 2009.
”This report is further evidence that schools participating in CEP are making great strides ensuring that all children are well nourished and prepared to learn, especially since many of these students rely on school meals as their best source of nutritious food,” noted USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack in a statement made in response to the FRAC/CBPP report.
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