Last Monday, the Taylorville school board voted to try out the CEP program for Pre-K through 4th grade students in the district. But what is the CEP program, and what are the benefits for the district and the students?
CEP stands for Community Eligibility Provision, and it’s a federally funded program to feed all students breakfasts and lunches at no cost to the students and families. Districts can choose to participate at certain schools, or an entire district can participate if they meet the qualifications. There are many districts across the state that have signed up for the program. One of those district’s is the East Alton Elementary School District, about 20 miles northeast of St. Louis. The district has about 550 students in Kindergarten through 5th grade. East Alton has just completed their second cycle in the program. The school district participates in the program district-wide, from Pre-K through 8th grade.
Jill Miller is the Curriculum Instruction Coordinator for the East Alton School District, and she coordinates the CEP program in the district. She says one of the benefits for the district is there is a lot less paperwork to deal with on the front end, along with feeding every student in the district.
The plan in Taylorville is to try the program at the elementary level to start, and possibly add higher grade levels in future years. Taylorville Superintendent Dr. Greg Fuerstenau said told Regional Radio News after the May board meeting that the time had come for the district to make a decision on where to take the breakfast and lunch services going forward.
Miller says a school or district must re-apply for the program every four years. She says the program is a blessing for the district and for the families.