DMPS Expands Free Meal Program to Dozens of Schools

Busy DMPS lunchroomDes Moines Public Schools will offer meals at no cost to all students enrolled at 40 schools, four early learning centers, and other districtwide programs at the start of the 2016-2017 school year.

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) program, funded largely by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and in small part by DMPS, covers 100% of the cost of breakfast and lunch for all students at schools identified as having a high number of students living in poverty.

Schools participating in CEP will no longer be required to collect Free and Reduced Price Meals applications to determine income eligibility for free meals. Every student at the school receives no-cost meals.

“Community eligibility ensures more students can focus on their studies, and not on where their next meal will come from,” Superintendent Dr. Thomas Ahart said. “When students are more focused on learning, outcomes are better for everyone.”

DMPS will now offer meals at no cost to all students at these buildings:

  • Brubaker Elementary School
  • Callanan Middle School
  • Capitol View Elementary School
  • Carver Elementary School
  • Cattell Elementary School
  • Districtwide Programs at Mann
  • East High School
  • Edmunds Elementary School
  • Findley Elementary School
  • Garton Elementary School
  • Harding Middle School
  • Hiatt Middle School
  • Hoover High School
  • Howe Elementary School
  • Hoyt Middle School
  • Jackson Elementary School
  • Jessie Franklin Taylor Education Center
  • King Elementary School
  • Lovejoy Elementary School
  • Madison Elementary School
  • McCombs Middle School
  • McKee Education Center
  • McKinley Elementary School
  • Meredith Middle School
  • Mitchell Early Learning Center
  • Monroe Elementary School
  • Moore Elementary School
  • Morris Elementary School
  • Moulton Elementary School
  • North High School
  • Oak Park Elementary School
  • Park Avenue Elementary School
  • River Woods Elementary School
  • Samuelson Elementary School
  • Scavo High School
  • Smouse Elementary School
  • South Union Elementary School
  • Stowe Elementary School
  • Studebaker Elementary School
  • Van Meter High School
  • Weeks Middle School
  • Willard Elementary School
  • Windsor Elementary School
  • Woodlawn Education Center
  • Wright Elementary School

“CEP will ease the burden on families living in or near poverty, while saving the district money,” said interim Food and Nutrition Director Donna Cooper.

The program eliminates a step for students who need meal assistance. In the past, some families have been unwilling or unable to apply for free or reduced cost meals for a variety of reasons including awareness of the program, language barriers, social stigmas and challenges with accurate completion of forms. Some students were either running up a large debt or going hungry at school.

Almost 75% of DMPS students qualify for free or reduced-price meals based on their family income. The CEP implementation means DMPS no longer needs to collect applications, or track participation, and so far has saved the district more than $110,000 in administrative and equipment costs.

These updates to CEP will begin along with the  2016-17 school year on August 24.