Edgecombe schools to offer free meals to students

By COREY DAVIS

Staff Writer

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TARBORO – The Edgecombe County Board of Education voted to give students free breakfasts and lunches for the 2014-15 year.

The board approved Edgecombe County Public Schools to participate in the Community Eligibility Provision starting in the upcoming school year. Section(a) 104 of the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 amended the National School Lunch Act to provide schools and local education agencies that predominately serve low-income children with a new option for meal certification. Community Eligibility Provision allows high-poverty schools to offer both breakfast and lunch at no charge to all students while eliminating the 
traditional school meal application for schools.

Ruth McDowell, the school system’s child nutrition director, said the Community Eligibility Provision is intended to increase low-income access to nutritious meals while reducing the administrative burden. Community Eligibility Provision is a four-year reimbursement option, but local education agencies may opt in or out each year. McDowell said the major advantages of the nutrition participation would be to improve nutrition for students at risk and potentially increase attendance rates and test scores.

“It is really a wonderful opportunity because I know there are a lot of children who probably need free or reduced lunch, and it may encourage more children to eat at school,” board Chairwoman Ann Kent said. “We all know that there is a relationship with nutrition and learning.”

The board also approved several items for action, including the interim budget resolution total of $58,656,075 for the 2014-15 fiscal year.

Fiance Officer Laurie Leary, director of Fiscal Services, said the interim budget resolution is based on local, federal and state allotments. Schools Superintendent John Farrelly said the school system is awaiting a Edgecombe County Board of Commissioners’ vote to determine the funding to appropriate to the school system in the upcoming fiscal year.

Board member John Edmondson of District 7 participated his last school board meeting. Edmondson will be replaced by Marva Scott, who defeated him in the race for the District 7 seat in May.