The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) allows schools with a high percentage of low-income families to offer breakfast and lunch to all students at no charge while eliminating the traditional meal application process. Currently, the Seamless Summer Waiver allows all schools to serve free meals and receive a higher reimbursement rate in the 2021–22 school year. However, the higher poverty rates caused by the COVID-19 pandemic mean that the 2021–22 school year is still an optimal time to elect CEP as this allows schools to establish a base year for higher LCFF funding over the next four years. Choosing CEP this year prepares schools to easily transition into implementing School Meals for All in the 2022–23 school year and helps ensure that Pandemic EBT opportunities are available for all students. The deadline to elect CEP for this school year is September 30, 2021.
For more information, check out A Fresh Look at Community Eligibility, created in partnership with Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) and California Association of Food Banks to help your district navigate CEP and maximize this resource in the coming school year.