By Deanna Ryan
By Deanna Ryan
All Emanuel County School students will be receiving free meals for the next four years without having to fill out free and reduced meal applications or forms. This is thanks to the Community Eligibility Program (CEP) which allows for students to eat a free lunch, breakfast and after school snack when qualifications are met.
Making sure CEP qualifications are met is the job of Chandra Hooks, Emanuel County’s executive director of school nutrition who addressed the school board at its meeting on Tuesday, July 7, 2022. There she described what some of the process of filling out the CEP ‘monster’ application entailed: “touching base with every single child in the county” in gathering data from several different agencies to find students who qualify or could qualify for TANIFF or food stamps, those who live with them (extended qualifiers) and those who may qualify. She said special thanks needed to go out to Bonnie Bullock for her assistance with collecting the large amount of data.
According to Hooks, “in the past, the number of students who qualified for free and reduced lunches was at approximately 87.6% with 12.4% qualifying for paid meals. This year the percentage who qualify for free and reduced has increased to 98.09% leaving 1.19% as qualifying for paid meals.” Because of this rise, the system will be able to offer free meals for the next four years since they meet CEP qualifications. Hooks cautioned that there is information out in the community that USDA did not extend some of the waivers that were available. She stresses, “Please tell people we do NOT have to fill out meal applications” for free meals.
During the summer, students received free meals for the past two Tuesdays thanks to the Emanuel Baptist Association.
The Board of Education meeting also covered new business that is to be tabled until next meeting: the revision of policy IEDA (Unstructured Break Time) and new policy IKBB (Divisive Concepts Complaint Resolution Process), and new regulation JRB-R(1) (Parents’ Bill of Rights).
Before the close of the meeting, Mollie Smith presented the financial reports to the board.
In attendance were: Superintendent, Scott W. Hattaway, Chairman, Mason Henry, Phyllis Dixon, Tanya Lane, Johnny Parker, John Allen Bailey.