PUTNAM COUNTY – Putnam County School System (PCSS) families will see operational changes in school nutrition for the upcoming 2022-23 school year.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provided waivers to allow all children to eat at no cost through the USDA Seamless Summer Option (SSO) program. Since April 2020, children throughout the United States have been able to eat meals at school at no cost to them. However, USDA no longer has the authority to grant such waivers, and, as such, school meal service will operate as it did prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020.
“In time, we knew the COVID relief funds would run out and we would be back to where we were before the pandemic,” said Tim Martin, Deputy Director for the Putnam County School System. “We will see a rise in cafeteria prices due to national inflation, continuous shortages and staffing issues. We want to communicate this as soon as possible to allow families to become aware and prepare for the upcoming school year. Again, the biggest change is that meals will no longer be free for all families. Families that qualify for free or reduced-priced meals will need to make sure they complete the Meal Benefit application for the upcoming school year in order to continue receiving their students’ meal benefits.”
The easiest and quickest way for families to complete the Meal Benefit application* is to go www.pcsstn.com and the application is under School Nutrition. This link will be available starting July 18, 2022.
The PCSS enrolled in a provision of the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program for the 2022- 23 school year that is available to allow students at qualifying schools to receive breakfast and lunch at no cost. That program is called Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). The PCSS qualifying CEP schools are:
- Baxter Primary School
- Burks Elementary School
- Cane Creek Elementary School
- Cornerstone Elementary School
- Jere Whitson Elementary School
- Park View Elementary School
- Sycamore Elementary School
“We are thankful to have this provision to offer at qualifying schools. Coming out of the pandemic, we hope CEP will help students and families enrolled at those schools. Again, the school has to qualify which is why all schools are not eligible. Students at CEP schools will need their families to complete a required Household Information survey as it provides information that impacts funding of other programs,” said Jennifer Mitchell, MS, RD, LDN, School Nutrition Supervisor.
The differences expected for the upcoming year include, but may not be limited to, the items listed below.
Operational Changes Beginning School Year 2022-23
- Meals shall no longer be provided at no cost to all students. Students may receive meals at no cost if they are enrolled in Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), directly certified (i.e. food stamps, foster care, TANF, etc.) or qualify through a meal benefits application.
- Additionally, meal benefits applications may be used for other funding sources in your district. Benefits of completed income applications include:
▪ increased funding to support student education, technology and internet access
▪ discounts for fees associated with the college application process
▪ scholarship opportunities and discounted fees for SAT, ACT and AP tests
- Students must be enrolled in a school to receive school meals. Students attending virtual academies are not eligible to participate in either of the federal school meal programs.
- Meals shall only be provided and served on days when school is in session.
Another change families will see is an increase in food prices due to the rise in food costs. School Nutrition Program (SNP) Prices for the 2022-23 school year are listed below.
Non-SNP Employee Breakfast – $2.75
Visitor Breakfast – $3.00
Non-SNP Employee Lunch – $3.75
Visitor Lunch – $4.00
Holiday Meal – $5.00
Student Paid Lunch: K-8 – $2.75
Student Paid Lunch: 9-12 – $3.00
Student Reduced-Price Lunch – $ 0.40
Student Breakfast Universal – Free
For more information visit www.pcsstn.com.