Atwater, CA (June 20, 2019) - With the passage of the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) for the 2019-20 school year at last night's special board meeting, all meals including breakfast and lunch, will be free of charge for Merced Union High School District (MUHSD) students year-round.
At the end of every school year, many school sites across the nation are saddled with student lunch debt. If school districts are unable to find a creative way to pay it off, the money gets taken out of the general fund. This means that money that would have gone toward educational activities and materials has to be diverted to cover lunch money.
MUHSD is addressing the problem by participating in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) and leveraging funds from the LCAP to foot the bill for all student meals. The LCAP contribution will offset any associated cost over and beyond the federal reimbursement that the district receives as part of the CEP.
"With a large percentage of families in the area struggling to make ends meet and the proliferation of lunch-shaming on campuses, we are thrilled to be able to remove any barrier or stigma that would keep a student from having a nutritious meal at school," said MUHSD Superintendent Alan Peterson.
According to the National Education Association, numerous studies document a correlation between hunger and academic performance. Studies also show that behavior at school is negatively affected by missing meals.
"It should come as no surprise that students are much more likely to succeed in the classroom when basic needs such as food and nutrition are met," said MUHSD Director of Nutrition Services Erin Tassey. "By participating in CEP and having the support of funding for all meals in the LCAP, the district is reaffirming its commitment to equity and student success."
*About the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP): CEP is a non-pricing meal service option for schools and school districts in low-income areas. Schools and school districts that adopt CEP are reimbursed using a formula based on the percentage of students eligible for free meals.
*About the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP): The LCAP is a tool for local educational agencies to set goals, plan actions, and leverage resources to meet those goals to improve student outcomes.