Guilford County Schools opts out of federal nutrition program

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- Parents whose children attend Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) schools will have to individually apply for free and reduced lunch this coming 2018-2019 school year.

Chief Financial Officer Angie Henry said the school board decision is to better determine the need in the school district. Currently, 58 schools in Guilford County qualify for CEP based on the need.

“The USDA allows schools to feed children where there are pockets of poverty in schools where the identified school population exceeds 62.5 percent or groups of schools,” Henry said. “This is not a money-saving opportunity for us. In fact we’re hoping as we identify more students that are eligible this may help us in bringing more grant dollars into the district.”

Henry said that students who are direct certified will automatically qualify.

“Students who are direct certified -- meaning again they receive services from TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) or SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or some other assistance or if they are in a category like a homeless or a foster child -- they will continue to be direct certified and won’t need to complete an application. It’s just the families who don’t fall under that category, they need to complete an application.” Henry said.

Parents can apply now online, through the GCS phone app or by paperwork. That paperwork will be available at Open House and there is a 30-day grace period once the school year begins. ​