Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Finance and Operations: Community Eligibility Provision (free lunch)

Allen: Boston has been doing this, has existed in state for two years
have been analyzing for that time
until state clarified, have not made a recommendation to the School Committee
now feel comfortable making recommendation
first on school lunch, then on rest
"regardless of what we do...has no bearing on impacts its going to have on grant entitlements and so forth"
School lunch: about 22 districts in MA already in CEP
54 districts are eligible to participate: 41% of student enrollment in the state (390,000)
CEP explained
financials of this makes it favorable for us to participate
increase in reimbursement of $1.2M
reduction in funds collected (to zero) from about $400,000
total net revenue increase of $647,862
anticipate between a five and ten percent increase in participation
will become an easy choice for parents: a state and federally recognized program, quality of program continues to improve each year
both due to benefit to students and minimally cost beneficial to district

Student has to take at least three of five components that are being offered each day; anything less than that would still have to pay cash
all accounting and auditing procedures are still in place

Foley: to our benefit to have students take three items out of five
Allen: principals notified that School Committee was considering this
will roll out FAQ
Foley: eliminates stigma
still need to collect forms for Medicaid; not a meal application
Allen: and could elect to revert back four years from now
Foley: financially beneficial to do this, operationally beneficial
should be faster to get kids through, as well
Allen: difference between what we charge versus what we're being reimbursed with; most of financial gain is due to paid meals being undercharged
Ramirez: impact of switching: is there a cash flow deficit? Now all reimbursement
Allen: DESE turning around funds through reimbursement
submit monthly reimbursement as quickly and accurately as we can
a couple of weeks, "7 to 10 days"
shouldn't present a cash flow problem
Ramirez: shouldn't encourage children to take food and then throw it away

These are my questions: time to eat?
additional lines for where it can be done
school by school capacity
even if necessary to have mobile stations to get kids through in a timely fashion
medical documentation needed for gluten and dairy
vegetarian: at high school and it's the other option in elementary
Yes, they'll be prepared to feed all the kids next Wednesday if they all show up and want lunch

Allen: breakfast in the classroom in 23 sites to date
would allow us to expand to all schools
have already had a number of schools express an interest in doing that

Other impacts on the switch to economically disadvantaged
"has now replaced the low income catagory for all purposes"
solely direct certified students in the state
state has seen a decrease in the number of students
state overall decreased by 31.4%
Worcester fell by 30.4% (from nearly 18,000 to 12,5000 (about))
FY16 grants will show that in all cases, particularly in Title I: we saw a large increase, as we had a large increase in low income enrollment AND the state is now using the economically disadvantaged number for this change; we hadn't fallen as far: THIS HAS HAPPENED ALREADY
Accountability system: low income is a subgroup; state is now change to ED
state felt that they were making changes anyway and this was the time to make that change
state providing guidance to MSBA
Chapter 70 actually mentions low income; statutory change needed
state could no longer use the same numbers; districts that have already switched to CEP have been held harmless for two years
state provision for low income is $1.2B; 10% of foundation budget
state intends to use to CEP number but change the per pupil rate so as to have no change in the overall amount of chapter 70; this would be a positive change for difference
Foley: getting sense from state: why replicate work that has already been done
risk is minimal because Boston is in the mix
Allen: Boston and Springfield as well
aid couldn't go away due to low income hit
Ramirez: how would WPS keep track of impacts?
Allen: it'd be good for us to let them know what is potentially coming and what this change means for Worcester
make sure that they hold harmless the $1.2B and change the per pupil
recomendations that we forward information directly to delegation ASAP on other impacts
also that we send question of counting kids in poverty to accountability

Q: parents with money on account: parents can ask for refund or leave money on account for a la carte purchases
forward information about impacts on ch 70 et al
refer child povery question to accountability

all motions adopted unanimously

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