The School Committee Paid $153,783 to cover unpaid meals left for fiscal year 2015.

In their July 15th meeting the School Committee voted to spend $153,783 to pay for lunches that had been given in the 2014/2015 school year and NOT paid for.

According to the Lowell Sun: Officials acknowledged the need to find other options to cover or collect on unpaid school meals. “This is not an effort to try and chase down or in any way to hold students in a difficult position over a school lunch,” said member Connie Martin.

WHY spend even that amount when you could be providing FREE LUNCH to EVERY STUDENT? Wouldn’t that $153,783 have bought some much needed hands on Science Kits or textbooks?

I’m astonished that in July 2015 this past Administration didn’t have facts and figures on the C.E.P. (Community eligibility Provision) to review with the School Committee and instead the Committee passed a motion that said: Request an update on standards for free and reduced lunch programs to see how that might impact the district’s state funding formula

If I’m understanding the “formula” for C.E.P correctly, let’s say Lowell has 70% of the 14,000 students eligible as “Low Income” that would be 9,800 students. They multiply that by 1.6 which would make it 15,680 eligible but since Lowell only has 14,000 all would receive free breakfast and Lunch and the FEDS would pay for it all and it doesn’t affect anything else negatively.

What that does to Aramark? Not sure…not sure that isn’t part of the reason Lowell didn’t participate. I understand they “guarantee” the School Dept. $700K annually but at what cost to the parents? Especially if the School Dept. has to pay an additional $153K?

The State of Mass Office of Secondary and Elementary Education sent this information out to all school districts in MAY of 2015.

Nutrition, Health and Safety
Districts and Schools Eligible and Potentially Eligible to participate in Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) in 2015-16 school year

To: Local Educational Agencies (LEAs)
School Food Service Directors
School Business Managers
From: Kathleen C. Millett, Executive Director
Office for Nutrition, Health and Safety Programs
Date: May 1, 2015

CEP-AnnualNotification (2)

It included a breakdown by each school giving the % of students in that school who would be eligible. ONLY 2 Schools in the entire School District are listed has having under 50% of the students eligible

Screen Shot 2015-07-27 at 2.36.00 PM

Lowell was notified of all of the Schools that qualified. Was the Administration which was winding down and caught up in a political Supt. fight to busy or distracted to follow up on this?

The next School Committee meeting isn’t until August 19th which would leave only 8 business days for the School Department to apply and fill out the required paperwork. Is that fair to the new Superintendent ? Is Lowell going to just let another year pass by without applying?

Will any current School Committee member ask the Mayor to call a Special Meeting to address this issue?

The Lowell School Dept. knew about this program in 2014 but did NOT participate…WHY?

Nutrition, Health and Safety

Potentially Eligible Community Eligibility Provision LEAs and Schools

To: Local Educational Agencies (LEAs)
School Food Service Directors
School Business Managers
From: Kathleen C. Millett, Executive Director
Office for Nutrition, Health and Safety Programs
Date: April 30, 2014

Attached you will find an updated list of Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) and schools that have been determined to be potentially eligible to participate in Community Eligibility Provision for school year 2014-2015.
If you have any questions, please contact Jheanell West or Diane Sylvia of the Office for Nutrition, Health and Safety Programs staff by email at jwest@doe.mass.edu or dsylvia@doe.mass.edu or by telephone at 781-338-6480.

Attachment:2014 Notification of Eligibility

In addition to the meals , Lowell might be able to take advantage of another item tied into this program:

New Policy Makes It Easier for Community Eligibility Schools to Participate in E-Rate Program
By Zoë Neuberger and Becca Segal

A new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) policy will make it easier for school districts adopting the Community Eligibility Provision — through which they can serve meals at no charge to all students — to apply for discounted telecommunications services and Internet access through the E-rate program.1 The new E-rate policy streamlines the discount calculation process for community eligibility schools so that they do not face any additional burdens relative to other schools.

E-RateCEPPolicy

Hopefully this issue gets addressed and acted upon sooner rather than later.

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