Department to expand free meal program to 30 schools total on six islands

03-May-2016

HIDOE will expand the USDA Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) free meal program from seven public schools to 30 across the state.

​​​​​​​HONOLULU –This upcoming school year, the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) will expand a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) free meal program, called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), from seven public schools to 30 across the state. 

The CEP program allows a school district, a group of schools or a single school to serve free meals to all students even if they do not qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch reimbursements.

“We are pleased to be able to expand this program to more schools and include nearly every island with free meals,” stated Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We’ve heard from parents in this year’s pilot project who say the program was a tremendous help for their families.”

The 23 additional schools being added to the program in school year 2016-17 are:

Kauai:

  • Kekaha Elementary​

Hawaii Island:

  • Kau High & Pahala Elementary

  • Keaau Elementary

  • Keaau High

  • Keaau Middle

  • Keonepoko Elementary

  • Naalehu Elementary

  • Pahoa Elementary

  • Pahoa High

Maui:

  • Hana High & Elementary

Lanai:

  • Lanai High & Elementary

Oahu:

  • Leihoku Elementary

  • Maili Elementary

  • Makaha Elementary

  • Nanaikapono Elementary

  • Nanakuli Elementary

  • Nanakuli High & Intermediate

  • Olomana School

  • Pope Elementary

  • Waianae Elementary

  • Waianae High

  • Waianae Middle

  • Waimanalo Elementary & Intermediate

The seven schools in the pilot program will continue participating next year, including:

  • Kaunakakai Elementary School, Molokai

  • Kilohana Elementary School, Molokai

  • Maunaloa Elementary School, Molokai

  • Molokai Middle School, Molokai

  • Molokai High School, Molokai

  • Mountain View Elementary School, Hawaii Island

  • Linapuni Elementary School, Oahu

To qualify for the CEP program, a district, grouping or school must have a minimum of 40 percent or more of its students eligible for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program.

Currently HIDOE pays an average of $5.50 a meal (including food costs, labor, utilities, etc.). The USDA reimburses the state $3.85 for students who qualify for a free meal and $0.40 for those paying for a meal. HIDOE charges $2.50 for elementary school meals for a total of $2.90 in recouped cost for the state. 

Under the program all students in the CEP school would qualify for the higher $3.85 reimbursement. While the seven schools will no longer be collecting meal monies and ensuring accounts have sufficient funds, families will be required to provide information for data collection.  

“Last year, we were able to launch this pilot project at seven schools to establish its impacts on finances and staffing,” said Assistant Superintendent Dann Carlson, Office of School Facilities and Support Services. “The response was positive and we are happy that this year we will be able to expand the program to all counties and include several new whole school complexes. This USDA program allows us to feed more students, for free, and do so in a way that does not increase the cost to the state.”

For more information about the USDA CEP program visit: http://1.usa.gov/1iP9FQI.  For details on HIDOE's CEP pilot program, visit http://bit.ly/1Kh8SL1. ​

HIDOE’s School Food Services Branch has a website that will provide families at schools that are not in the CEP program with the option to submit applications for Free and Reduced-Price Meal Benefits online. For more information visit http://bit.ly/1VX1OID.

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About the Hawaii State Department of Education
The Hawaii State Department of Education is the ninth-largest U.S. school district and the only statewide educational system in the country.  It is comprised of 256 schools and 34 charter schools, and serves more than 180,000 students.  King Kamehameha III established Hawaii's public school system in 1840. 

Contact Information

Donalyn Dela Cruz

Phone: 808-586-3232

Email: donalyn_dela_cruz@hawaiidoe.org

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