School lunches to revert to old policy

Published: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at 05:21 PM.

CHIPLEY - The Washington County School District has formally decided to amend its school lunch policy and opt out of the Community Eligibility Option (CEO), a U.S. Department of program that allowed schools to provided meals to all students, regardless of household income, at no charge if at least 40 percent of enrolled students are low income.

School board members decided to make the program countywide last year, but now explain it has come at an expense - costing the school board and taxpayers about $100,000 during the 2013-2014 school year.

"We thought it was going to be a 'break even' situation and even save us on administrative costs," said School Superintendent Joseph Taylor. "Instead, the USDA reimbursement (left us with a shortfall.)"

Taylor stresses free and reduced lunches will still be available for income eligible families.

"There will still be free lunches and reduced lunches; parents will just have to submit an application as required before we implemented this program."

The Community Eligibility Option was offered as a four-year program, but the school board had to option to opt out after a year.

Students will continue to eat free for the first 30 days of the 2014-2015 academic year as schools prepare for the transition and give parents a chance to complete free and reduced meal applications. After that time, students who have not turned in an application will be charged full price.

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