Bend▶️ 6,000 more Bend-La Pine students now get free breakfasts, lunches

▶️ 6,000 more Bend-La Pine students now get free breakfasts, lunches

▶️ 6,000 more Bend-La Pine students now get free breakfasts, lunches

6,000 more Bend-La Pine students get free breakfast, lunch with federal program

Every student in 22 out of 33 schools in Bend- La Pine School District now has access to free breakfasts and lunches thanks to an expansion of the federal Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).

“Clearly it’s a need in our community, and we are in a position where we’re able to step up and fulfill that need. That feels good, and I think most of our families appreciate knowing that,” district spokesman Scott Maben said.

The CEP is a federal program that makes it possible for schools to serve the free meals. Ten schools in the district were already enrolled, but the required CEP federal threshold for participating students was lowered in 2023, allowing more schools to be added to the list.

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The 10 Bend-La Pine schools that already offered the program:

  • Bear Creek Elementary
  • Ensworth Elementary
  • La Pine Elementary
  • Rosland Elementary
  • Three Rivers Elementary
  • Three Rivers Middle
  • La Pine Middle
  • Pilot Butte Middle
  • La Pine High
  • Bend Tech Academy

The 12 schools joining are:

  • Buckingham Elementary
  • Elk Meadow Elementary
  • Juniper Elementary
  • Lava Ridge Elementary
  • Ponderosa Elementary
  • R.E. Jewell Elementary
  • Westside Village Magnet
  • High Desert Middle
  • Caldera High
  • Mountain View High
  • Realms Middle and High Schools

“Roughly 6,000 additional students will be served with expansion of CEP. About two-thirds of our 17,000 plus students are covered for free meals,” Maben said.

Families in the enrolled schools will not have to apply for free or reduced meals.

“This can make a big impact in the budget for our families. If a student is paying full price for breakfast and lunch every day for the school year, that’s nearly a thousand dollars in charges just for that one student,” Maben said. “I think you could say there’s been a little bit of stigma too, about free and reduced meals. So in these 22 schools, that’s not an issue anymore. Everybody gets the benefit.”

The district says the others schools that aren’t participating in the CEP don’t have enough students overall that qualify for the free or reduced meal program.

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