District Administration November 2017 - 17

When the New York City Department
of Education announced in September
that all public school students will now
receive free lunch, it joined a growing
number of cities around the country
trying to ease food insecurity and end
the phenomenon of "lunch shaming."
Previously about three-quarters of
the city's 1.1 million public school students qualified for free or reduced-price
lunch, but many didn't participate,
often because parents hadn't completed
necessary forms, or the student wanted
to avoid the social stigma associated
with receiving free meals.
New York's program also no longer
requires any paperwork from parents.
"This is about equity," said New
York Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña when the program was announced.
"We're erasing all the terrible history of
the school food program-not just in
New York City, but nationally-that
has divided children by income."
Large cities such as Boston, Detroit
and Baltimore already take advantage of
the federal Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), which allows districts in
low-income areas to serve free breakfast
and lunch to students without collecting household applications. Reimbursement uses a formula relying on the
percentage of students eligible for free
meals based on participation in other
programs, such as the Supplemental
Nutrition Assistance Program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
Qualifying for CEP
Until this summer, New York failed to
meet the eligibility requirements to participate in CEP. "The cutoff to be eligible was too low for communities like
New York City," says Janet Poppendieck, a sociology professor at Hunter
College, City University of New York,
and the author of Free for All: Fixing
School Food in America. To qualify for
www.DistrictAdministration.com

subsidized lunch, family incomes had
to be at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty line ($45,510 for a family
of four). While 75 percent of the city's
students do fall into that category, others, whose family incomes are slightly
higher, couldn't be included.
"In many high cost-of-living communities, you have a group of students
who don't have the cash to buy the
lunch-even though it's a bargain-but
whose families are not eligible for the
free and reduced price," Poppendieck
explains. "Those are students who are
helped immediately."
Finding CEP resources
Poppendieck says other districts and
schools should consider the CEP. States
are required each summer to list the

GETTYIMAGES.COM: ASISEELT

Moving to ease food insecurity

schools that are eligible to use community eligibility on a website (DAmag.
me/ser). "The state office of education is
equipped to tell them whether their individual school is eligible for the program,"
she says. "They'll never have to collect
another school lunch debt." -Tim Goral

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November 2017 17


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration November 2017

District Administration November 2017 - Cover1
District Administration November 2017 - Cover2
District Administration November 2017 - 1
District Administration November 2017 - 2
District Administration November 2017 - 3
District Administration November 2017 - 4
District Administration November 2017 - 5
District Administration November 2017 - 6
District Administration November 2017 - 7
District Administration November 2017 - 8
District Administration November 2017 - 9
District Administration November 2017 - 10
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District Administration November 2017 - Cover3
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