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Students at six elementary schools to receive free breakfast, lunch through CEP

Students at six elementary schools to receive free breakfast, lunch through CEP




For FAQs about the Community Eligibility Provision, please click here

Please click here to view the letter that went home to families


Johnson City Schools’ Food Service Department is pleased to inform our students, families, and stakeholders that beginning Tuesday, January 9, all enrolled students at six elementary schools will begin receiving free breakfast and lunch.  Students who attend Cherokee Elementary, Fairmont Elementary, Mountain View Elementary, North Side Elementary, South Side Elementary and Woodland Elementary will have access to free breakfast and lunch each school day through the USDA’s Community Eligibility Provision (CEP)

“We are excited to offer this opportunity for our families,” Johnson City Schools’ Food Service Supervisor Karen McGahey said. “While we would like to be able to offer this option at all of our schools, the funding structure does not support that decision as we must remain fiscally responsible to cover the costs of the services provided. However, we will be reevaluating the success of the pilot program, the direct certification numbers and attendance this spring to see if the funding will support the continuation and possible expansion of the program to other schools as we move forward.”

This pilot program is made possible through the USDA’s Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) allowing all students access to free meals. The ability to now access certain Medicaid rolls in Tennessee has significantly increased the number of directly certified students across the district. This change, coupled with the USDA mid-year CEP Pilot option, has allowed these schools to reach the threshold to make this Pilot a fiscally feasible option. CEP funding is based on the number of students directly certified through the State in SNAP, TANF, and Medicaid, school attendance, and a mathematical calculation to determine how the meals are funded.  If the funding level is enough to cover the costs of providing meals, systems can opt for this payment structure. 

Families of students at these schools with a negative balance in their school cafeteria as of January 9, 2024, will have until the end of the school year to pay the balance; however, early payment would be accepted and appreciated. Payments may be made directly to your student’s school cafeteria by cash or check. Secure online may be made at 

The Johnson City Schools Food Service Department is federally funded through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) by participation in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. The department does not receive local funding and sufficiently operates eleven school kitchens generating operating funds through federal reimbursement for meals served to students. Any parent can fill out and return paperwork to see if they qualify for free and reduced lunches. For more information about Johnson City Schools’ Food Service, please visit