Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) announced they plan to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students in the 2023-24 school year.
BCPS provided free lunch after students returned to school after the pandemic in the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years.
“Students in 87 BCPS schools currently receive free meals as part of the federal Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) program. The CEP program allows public schools and local educational agencies (LEAs) located in low-income areas to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students and it eliminates the burden of collecting household applications to determine eligibility for school meal programs. Individual schools, groups of schools and school systems qualify for this program based on the number of students (≥40 percent) who are directly certified for free meals based on existing data from needs-based programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, (SNAP) and children who are homeless or in other special circumstances,” said a statement from BCPS.
“Due to increased eligibility across the county, it is anticipated that BCPS will be able to adopt a systemwide CEP model next school year.”
BCPS stated more information will be available once official eligibility data is released by the Maryland State Department of Education in April.