By Beth Dalbey
A disturbing fact in America is that nearly 13 million children are hungry and don’t know what they’re going to eat in their next meal — or if they’ll get a next meal. That’s one in six children. An elementary school in Elkhart, Indiana, saw how much cafeteria food was being wasted because cooks prepared too much and decided to do something about it.
The Woodland Elementary School partnered with Cultivate, a South Bend-based nonprofit, to rescue the wasted food and provide weekend meals for students who don’t have enough food to eat. Through the end of the school year, 20 Woodland students will receive backpacks, each filled with eight individual frozen meals to get them through the weekend.
Source: Uneaten Cafeteria Meals Feed Hungry Indiana Students On Weekends | South Bend, IN Patch
By Allison Aubrey
A coalition of state attorneys general is suing the Trump administration for weakening the federal nutrition standards for school meals that are fed to about 30 million children across the country.
“Over a million children in New York – especially those in low-income communities and communities of color – depend on the meals served daily by their schools to be healthy, nutritious, and prepare them for learning,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. Joining James in the lawsuit are the attorneys general of California, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Minnesota, New Mexico and Vermont.
As we’ve reported, last year the Trump administration gave school lunch administrators more flexibility in serving up refined grains, including white breads, biscuits and white pastas. The move weakened standards set during the Obama administration aimed at serving more nutritious and fiber-dense whole grains, which are a key part of a healthy diet.
Source: Attorneys General Sue Trump Administration Over School Nutrition Rollbacks : The Salt : NPR
By Matthew Keys
School meals in California could contain more organic foods under a bill proposed Thursday by a local lawmaker.
The proposal would create a statewide organic food-to-school pilot program within the Office of Farm to Fork within California’s Department of Food and Agriculture.
The legislation, Assembly Bill 958, was authored by Assemblywoman Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Winters, whose district includes Dixon and portions of rural Solano County.
Source: Lawmakers prioritize improvements to school meal programs
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that applications are available for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO), both federally funded, state-administered programs that serve free meals to children eighteen and younger when school is out of session.
“Food insecurity impacts families throughout the state. When schools are out of session, our most economically disadvantaged students are not only missing academic instruction, they are also missing meals,” said Thurmond. “Access to nutritious and healthy food during the summer months helps students return to school ready to engage and ready to learn.”
According to the California Association of Food Banks, 85 percent of children who benefit from the federally funded free or reduced-price lunches during the school year miss similar lunch programs available during the summer. Every summer, 17 of 20 low-income students fall into the summer nutrition gap.
Source: Applications for Summer Meal Programs – Year 2019 (CA Dept of Education)
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
What started as small talk between a mother and her daughter’s classmate has provided lunches for Tolenas School students.
Jordan Dade was walking her daughter McKenna Dade to kindergarten when the mom spoke with one of the boys and he told her that he lived in a motel.
“I was floored,” Jordan Dade said.
Could it be the boy’s house was being remodeled, she wondered?
She spoke with McKenna’s teacher and was told that a number of students in the district live in motels.
Source: Tolenas student raises funds to pick up lunch tab
By Evie Blad
Nutritious school meals don’t do anyone any good if kids just throw them into the trash. So we’re empowering local schools by providing more options to serve healthy AND appetizing food. We’re publishing our final rule in the Federal Register. Details: https://t.co/tUz8II29Zp pic.twitter.com/rpwF4wjQ30
— Sec. Sonny Perdue (@SecretarySonny) December 6, 2018
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its final school rule on school meals Thursday, relaxing nutrition standards championed by former first lady Michelle Obama more than most advocates had expected.
The new directive, which finalizes a plan announced in May 2017, will ease requirements related to flavored milk, whole grains, and sodium in meals served through the National School Lunch and breakfast programs.
Source: Trump Administration Further Relaxes School Lunch Rules – Rules for Engagement – Education Week
By Linda Jacobson
Three years ago, the Grants Pass School District 7 in southern Oregon chose to take advantage of the National School Lunch Program’s Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), which allows schools serving low-income students to provide free meals to everyone and stop asking families to complete applications for free or reduced-price meals (FRPL).
CEP certification uses other data on families that receive government assistance, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Officials saw immediate benefits — particularly at the high school level, where students often don’t sign up for subsidized meals.
Source: Free, reduced-price meal data growing less useful as measure of student poverty | Education Dive
By Reporter Staff
Vacaville Unified School District recently announced its policy to serve nutritious meals every school day under the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Afterschool Snack Program and Supper Program.
Effective July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019, children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals if the household income is less than or equal to the federal guidelines. Students may buy lunch for $3 (grades K-6), $3.25 (grades 7-8), or $3.50 (grades 9-12) and/or breakfast for $1.50 (grades K-6) or $1.75 (grades 7-12).
Households do not need to turn in an application when the household receives a notification letter saying that all children automatically qualify for free meals when any household member receives benefits from CalFresh, CalWORKs, or FDPIR.
Source: Vacaville Unified will serve nutritious meals for free to eligible students – The Reporter
By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen
The Vallejo City Unified School District will be serving free breakfast and lunch for all students at five public school sites for the 2018-2019 school year, officials announced.
All students will be served lunch and breakfast at no charge at Everest Academy, Franklin Middle School, Lincoln Elementary School, Mare Island Health and Fitness Academy, and Patterson Elementary School, they said.
The Vallejo school district announced its policy to serve nutritious meals every school day under the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program through June 30, 2019. Children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals if the household income is less than or equal to the federal guidelines.
Source: All students in five Vallejo schools to get free meals
By Nick Sestanovich
The Benicia Unified School District announced its guidelines for free or reduced meal programs under the National School Lunch/Breakfast Programs for the 2018-19 school year.
According to a news release, BUSD’s Food and Nutrition Department offers lunch services at Matthew Turner Elementary School, breakfast and lunch services at Mary Farmar Elementary, Joe Henderson Elementary, Robert Semple Elementary, Benicia Middle School and Liberty High School, and breakfast, lunch and nutritional snack break services at Benicia High School. The cost of breakfast is $2 and the cost of milk is 50 cents for all grades, and the cost of lunch is $3 for elementary schoolers and $3.50 for middle and high schoolers.
Source: BUSD announces guidelines for free, discount meal eligibility in 18-19
Confidentiality is a set of rules that limits access to or places restrictions on certain types of information. All applications and records concerning any individual made or kept by any public officer or agency relating to free and reduced-price (F/RP) meal eligibility are considered confidential.
Although a program or person may be authorized under the National School Lunch Act to receive F/RP meal eligibility information, there must be a legitimate need to know in order to provide a service or carry out an authorized activity. The California Department of Education, local educational agencies (LEA), and schools must ensure that data systems, records, and other means of accessing a student’s eligibility status are limited to officials directly connected with the school meal programs, and may not be open to examination for any purpose not directly connected with the administration of any F/RP meal program.
Both federal and state laws impose strict confidentiality requirements regarding information gathered to determine a child’s eligibility for F/RP meals. The intent of these laws is to limit access to meal applications and any records concerning a child’s F/RP meal benefit eligibility status, such as the child’s name and F/RP meal category. The records shall not be available to any individual for any purpose not directly connected with the administration of any F/RP meal program. LEAs must establish procedures that limit access to only those assigned by the LEA to determine eligibility. In California, there are some state laws that supersede federal regulations pertaining to confidentiality.
Source: Confidentiality-School Nutrition Programs – School Nutrition (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that disadvantaged families in California can now find updated lists of child and adult care centers offering nutritious meals at low or no cost through the California Department of Education’s website.
“Providing children with healthy meals is critical to their physical, emotional, and academic growth,” said Torlakson. “Parents who are struggling with food insecurity can find out where to go to ensure their children receive the proper nutrition they need to thrive. I encourage families to take advantage of these centers.”
The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Over 8,000 local child care centers and 14,000 sponsored day care home providers in California participate. These facilities provide nutritious food to infants, children, and adults.
All children enrolled in these day care homes receive meals at no charge. Most participating child care centers also provide meals at no charge, or free and reduced-price (F/RP) meals are available.
Source: Serving Nutritious Meals to Low-income Families – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
By Tim Goree
Free meals are available during the summer for children 18 years old and younger at many locations throughout Fairfield and Suisun City! For times and locations, see the attached flyers in English and Español, or visit the following FSUSD web page: http://bit.ly/2rYwPT0
Source: Free Meals for Kids and Teens During the Summer
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced the release of the California Department of Education’s (CDE) CA Meals for Kids mobile app. The app allows users to find the locations of California’s Summer and Afterschool Meal Programs, which are spread throughout the state. These programs provide no-cost meals to children aged eighteen and under.
“It is critical that children continue to receive nutritious meals when schools are not in session. This helps to counter summer learning loss and ensures that students are able to return to the classroom ready to learn,” said Torlakson. “This application will make it easier for families and caregivers to locate the sites closest to them and receive other information about meal services.”
The CA Meals for Kids App draws upon information submitted to the CDE Nutrition Services Division by local program sponsors and provides the most up-to-date information about meal services available in the community. Children and families can use location-based searches to find meal sites, dates, and times. The app also allows for searches by site name, ZIP code, and city.
Source: New CDE Mobile App—CA Meals for Kids – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
By Richard Bammer
The 21st-century California school kitchen and the food served in them only partially resemble what, say, a 40-year-old might recall, and some evidence is at Jepson Middle School in Vacaville.
Mystery meat? Not a questionably gray, watery slice in sight, but there was plentiful freshly made meatloaf, mashed potatoes, tomato soup, green salad, bread at 11:30 a.m. Friday, when the school’s eighth-graders showed up to file into the newly remodeled space that came with a price tag of nearly $1 million. The cost was due, in part, to extensive structural rot and other problems in the former space that required construction workers to “totally gut the place,” noted Jennifer Leonard, public information officer for Vacaville Unified.
Now there are the familiar gleaming, easy-to-clean silvery steel shelves running the length of the roughly 30-by-30 kitchen, the small cartons of milk stacked by the hundreds, stations to pick up a hot main dish, the cash register (now electronic and quiet) at the end of the line.
By Richard Bammer
It’s only 30 cents, but it will be a welcome financial benefit for Fairfield-Suisun Unified students and families and the school district.
The district’s Child Nutrition Services Department announced Friday it will no longer charge the 30-cent co-pay for reduced-price breakfasts, a new policy that takes effect Jan. 8 and remains in effect for the rest of the school year.
Those students who are eligible for reduced-priced meals will be able to eat breakfast at school for free, Tim Goree, executive director of administrative services and community engagement, wrote in a press release.
In the prepared statement, he added that by “using a tool” provided by the state Department of Education, the district’s Child Nutrition Services Department estimated a 64 percent increase in student participation in the breakfast program if the co-pay was eliminated.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun will no longer charge students co-pay on reduced-price breakfasts
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that more than 800,000 California students are now eligible to receive free and reduced priced meals from the state school lunch program through a more streamlined and automated state-level Direct Certification process.
Local education agencies (LEAs) can now use Medi-Cal data included on the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) direct certification reports to certify eligible students. The data exchange between the state departments and the LEAs takes place securely without disclosing a student’s Medicaid status, health information, or specific income data.
This Direct Certification process eliminates the need for families to fill out applications, reduces the administrative tasks of verifying and processing those applications, and identifies eligible students in a more expedient timeline.
Source: CA Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Meals – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)
By Richard Bammer
California families with public school students will no longer be saddled with filling out applications to make sure the children are eligible for free or reduced-cost lunches.
Instead, local school districts will use Medi-Cal data as a way to certify eligibility, state schools chief Tom Torlakson noted in a press release issued just before the Thanksgiving holiday break.
The automated process, which affects more than 800,000 K-12 students and began after July 1, includes information from California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) in order to streamline the process through “direct certification,” Cynthia Butler, a spokeswoman for Torlakson, wrote in the prepared statement.
Source: Districts to use automated process to certify free lunch-eligible students
By Tim Goree
School Year 2017-18
Public Media Release for Free and Reduced-Price Meals
Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District announces its policy to serve nutritious meals every school day under the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and/or Afterschool Snack Program. Effective July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018, children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals if the household income is less than or equal to the federal guidelines.
Source: Good News: Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District Serves Free and Reduced-Price Meals
By Richard Bammer
An explanation about a delayed release for the latest state standardized test scores and a revised food services meal payment policy are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight in Dixon.
Mike Walbridge, assistant superintendent for educational services, will explain the reason for the delay, which the state Department of Education has chalked up to an unspecified “data problem.” The 2017 California Assessment of Student Proficiency and Progress, or CAASPP, measures student skills in English and math for students in grades three through eight and 11th grades.
The five-member governing board will consider the new meal payment policy, as presented by Melissa Mercado, the chief business official.
In brief, the policy will require cafeteria workers and district staff to increase their efforts to inform parents or guardians of their student’s delinquent meal account. Once a limit of $50 is reached, the student will no longer be able to charge meals, and, after all efforts to collect the debts are made, district officials may prohibit seniors from participating in senior activities, including graduation, or possibly delay the sending of a student’s report card.
Source: Revised meal payment policy on Dixon Unified School District agenda