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Free Meal Program Adds 12 Schools

Community Eligible Provision (CEP) expansion is a game-changer for thousands of families

Article Date: Jan 02, 2024

Thanks to a change in federal guidelines, 12 additional schools throughout Bend-La Pine Schools will serve free breakfast and lunch to all enrolled students without the need for families to apply for free and/or reduced meals. The change begins Tuesday, January 2, when students return from winter break.

There are currently 10 schools that qualify to offer breakfast and lunch to all enrolled students at no charge. On January 2, the total will increase to 22 schools.

“This is a monumental change for thousands of Bend-La Pine families,” said Assistant Director of Nutrition Services Garra Schluter. “What this means to a family’s household budget is truly significant, and we are always proud to offer so many healthy, scratch-made options to our students at no cost.”

The district is able to add 12 schools to the CEP program due to a change in federal guidelines, lowering the threshold of participating students. The Oregon Department of Education successfully applied for a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow the program to change in the middle of the 2023-24 school year.

The schools added to the CEP program are Buckingham Elementary, Elk Meadow Elementary, Juniper Elementary, Lava Ridge Elementary, Ponderosa Elementary, R.E. Jewell Elementary, Westside Village Magnet, High Desert Middle, Caldera High, Mountain View High, and Realms Middle and High Schools.

Schools already included in the CEP program are Bear Creek Elementary, Ensworth Elementary, La Pine Elementary, Rosland Elementary, Three Rivers Elementary, Three Rivers Middle, La Pine Middle, Pilot Butte Middle, La Pine High and Bend Tech Academy.

Learn more about meal programs at Bend-La Pine Schools.