Bend12 more Bend-La Pine schools offering free meals to all students

12 more Bend-La Pine schools offering free meals to all students

12 more Bend-La Pine schools offering free meals to all students

School cafeteria

Every student at 22 schools in the Bend-La Pine School District will get access to free breakfast and lunch for the rest of the school year thanks to a change in federal guidelines. Twelve schools were just added to the 10 that were already on the list.

The district announced Thursday that the Community Eligible Provision (CEP) expansion comes due to a lowering of the federal threshold of participating students. The Oregon Department of Education applied for a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow the program to change in the middle of the 2023-24 school year. 

That means that families of children at 22 schools won’t need to apply for for free or reduced meals. The change takes effect next Tuesday when students return from winter break.

“This is a monumental change for thousands of Bend-La Pine families,” Assistant Director of Nutrition Services Garra Schluter said in a statement. “What this means to a family’s household budget is truly significant, and we are always proud to offer so many healthy, scratch-made options to our students at no cost.” 

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Originally, 10 Bend-La Pine schools were offering 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

The announcement did not say why CEP wasn’t expanded to all schools in the district.

Students at those schools will still be able to buy additional milk, juice or meals. Snack bar items are also available for purchase at middle and high schools.
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