Kern County parents and students will receive some extra support this school year following a newly passed senate bill.
Starting this September several Kern County school districts are rolling out a new program to help put more food on the table for your students and this time it won't impact the pockets of parents.
Kern High School District (KHSD) Food Services Director Jennifer Davis is also excited about the new changes happening this school year, "Kern High School District is opting to do both breakfast and lunch," Davis said. Students will no longer have to worry about paying for breakfast and lunch on campus now that the new Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) program is starting out in many schools across the county.
KHSD CEP PARTICIPATING SCHOOLS for 2018-19
12 Comprehensive High Schools:
Arvin; BHS; East; Foothill; Golden Valley; Highland; Kern Valley
Mira Monte; North; Shafter; South; West
6 Continuation and Special Ed Schools:
ABLE Center; Central Valley; Nueva; Tierra Del Sol; Vista; Vista West
Not all of the schools in KHSD will be receiving free lunch and breakfast, but there will still be over 26,000 students that will now be covered for two meals a day.
School officials will submit claims totaling up the number of meals served to students over the course of the school year. Then using tax dollars the state of California will reimburse the schools that were deemed eligible for the program.
Now at no cost to the school, parents will also be saving time and money according to Davis, “would save them $819 a year," Davis said.
Following the passing of the Senate Bill 138 in October of 2017, schools with large amounts of students living in poverty within California are required to apply to operate this new universal free meal service. Davis said it is also helping bring about healthier options for students, "We’ve added a lot of hot items like breakfast burrito, breakfast wraps.”
Along with special diet sensitive meals, KHSD is also scaling back from snacks like donuts and other highly processed foods to help also shift student mindsets when it pertains to living a more nutritious life. "So we're hoping that students adapt a healthy lifestyle, come have a nutritious breakfast and lunch with us and it will carry into their education and energy for later," Davis said.
Other school districts like Bakersfield City, Beardsley, Standard and Taft all confirmed with The Now Bakersfield that they will also be implementing the new CEP program.
NOTE: Low income families no longer have to register for reduced lunch.