Special thanks to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation for supporting this access to nutrition project.
We would like to thank the Louisiana Department of Education and the Food Research and Action Center for providing us with materials, the contents of which have been reproduced for this publication. We would also like to thank the following community partners for their continued assistance: James Graham with KIPP Charter Schools, New Orleans Food Policy Advisory Committee, New Orleans No Kid Hungry, Orleans Parish Recovery School District, Prevention Research Center at Tulane University, and Propeller.
Also, special thanks to Louisiana Appleseed volunteer Allison Berger Tiller of The Berger Company, Inc. for dedicating her pro bono time to plan and implement the overall strategy for this project and write this publication.
The information in this publication is provided as a matter of public service and is for informational use only. The information does not constitute legal or financial advice and should not be used as such. Readers are strongly urged to contact the Louisiana Department of Education to discuss the application of Provision 2 and the Community Eligibility Option (CEO) for individual school districts. The information presented is subject to change.
Dear School Leader:
Did you know that your school is able to provide free meals to all students under the School Breakfast and National School Lunch Programs through Provision 2 and the Community Eligibility Option? Until now, Louisiana schools were unable to take advantage of Universal Meal Programs without losing their ability to count students eligible for at-risk funding. Louisiana Appleseed is pleased to report that the Louisiana Department of Education has changed its financial policies to allow your school district to take advantage of Provision 2 and the Community Eligibility Option, while continuing to receive at-risk funding.
Recently, numerous school operators and food policy advocates identified access to Universal Meal Programs as a pressing need and requested assistance from Louisiana Appleseed’s attorney volunteers. Programs such as Provision 2 and the Community Eligibility Option allow schools to provide free meals to all their students while simplifying their paperwork, streamlining meal service, decreasing school food service costs and, most importantly, promoting good nutrition and helping improve student performance.
Louisiana Appleseed and its community partners worked with the Louisiana Department of Education to amend the policy by which it determines the at-risk student count for schools wishing to participate in Universal Meal Programs. The updated policy ensures that schools opting for Provision 2 and the Community Eligibility Option will be able to continue to receive at-risk funding. Schools opting to implement Universal Meal Programs will not take meal applications each year. Instead, the at-risk count will be determined by the percentage of at-risk students enrolled in the most recent year the school took free and reduced priced lunch applications. That year’s percentage rate will be applied to the current year’s enrollment to establish the number of low-income students. The at-risk count procedures will remain the same for schools not using Provision 2 or the Community Eligibility Option. This alternative policy allows your school to reduce paperwork and access the Universal Meal Programs, while retaining your at-risk funding.
This publication, printed through the generosity of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation, is designed to be an easy guide to inform you about these programs and help you determine if taking advantage of Provision 2 or eventually the Community Eligibility Option is the right choice for your school and its students. It is intended to provide you with the pertinent policy information to assist you in making an informed decision. It includes information about Universal Meal Programs, implementation pros and cons, and helpful timelines.
We thank you for your dedication to the health and nutrition of Louisiana’s students.
Christy F. Kane
Executive Director, Louisiana Appleseed