Information about school meals for 2022-23 school year; 13 of our 22 schools eligible for universal meals

For the past two years, federal waivers have allowed for universal no-cost meals to all students in Bellingham Public Schools. Those waivers have expired for the upcoming school year. While a state provision will allow for 13 of our schools to continue no-cost meals, not all schools qualify. Nine of our schools will return to the free/reduced/full-pay model that was in place prior to March 2020.

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) allows schools with high numbers of low-income children to serve free breakfast and lunch to all students without collecting school meal applications.

Washington State increased the accessibility to CEP by lowering the eligibility threshold, resulting in many more Washington districts and schools qualifying for the universal no-cost meals. Bellingham Public Schools applied for as many sites as could be eligible and we are pleased that we could qualify 13 schools.

Other states in the nation responded with different strategies, including some states covering universal no-cost meals for all students in their state budgets. As federal and state decisions are made that impact school meal funding, Bellingham remains ready to respond and participate to the full extent the opportunities afford.

Students at non-CEP schools who qualify will continue to be eligible for free meals. In some cases, students are directly certified because they participate in other state programs or designations like students receiving migrant services, students experiencing homelessness, or students in foster care. In other cases, families submit a free and reduced meal application and qualify based on household income. Food services administrative staff will help any family who would like to check their status, submit an application, or who have any questions. New this year, students who qualify for reduced price meals will not have a co-pay; they will receive meals at no cost.

If you have any questions about the food services program, please visit the food services webpage, call 360-676-6504 or email School menus will be posted as we get closer to the first day of school.

Please see list below for where your school falls.

CEP schools

Schools with universal meals under the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) are:  Alderwood, Birchwood, Carl Cozier, Cordata, Happy Valley, Northern Heights, Roosevelt and Sunnyland elementary schools, Fairhaven, Shuksan and Whatcom middle schools; and Options and Squalicum high schools. These schools will participate in a federal program available to select schools as part of the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. This means students are eligible to receive breakfast and lunch at no charge throughout the 2022-23 school year, regardless of family or household income.

  • There is nothing you need to do to sign up – every student enrolled at our school may eat breakfast and lunch any (or every!) school day.
  • Alderwood, Birchwood, Carl Cozier, Cordata, Roosevelt, Sunnyland, and Options will serve breakfast after the bell. Students can plan to eat breakfast at school after they start their school day
  • Happy Valley, Northern Heights, Fairhaven, Shuksan, Whatcom, and Squalicum will start the school year with breakfast before the bell offered at no cost. Stay tuned for breakfast-after-the-bell opportunities in the month’s to come!
  • Important note: Families with students who only attend CEP schools do not need to submit a federal free and reduced price meal application. We will follow up with more information about a family income survey that will help the district access state funding dollars for education programs.

Non-CEP schools

Schools returning to the free/reduced price and full pay model are: Columbia, Geneva, Lowell, Parkview, Silver Beach and Wade King elementary schools:  Kulshan Middle School; Bellingham and Sehome high schools.

We encourage families at non-CEP schools to complete the federal free and reduced price school meals application online. You can find this linked on the food services webpage. If you prefer a paper application, we have them in our office, or contact food services 360-676-6504.  This year, families who qualify for reduced-price meals will eat for free as the reduced-price co-pay has been eliminated.

  • For paying students at Columbia, Geneva, Lowell, Silver Beach and Wade King, the  cost of school breakfast is $1.50 and lunch is $3.00
  • For paying students at Parkview, the cost of school lunch is $3.00. Parkview students will be served breakfast after the bell at no cost; students can plan to eat breakfast at school after they start their school day
  • For paying students at Kulshan, Bellingham and Sehome, the cost of school breakfast is $1.75 and lunch is $3.25
  • Student status – whether free, reduced, or full-pay — is confidential. All students enter an id code into a point of sale terminal and their student status is not displayed
  • Meal accounts are used to pay for school meals; more information can be found on the food services webpage.

The Good Food Project in Bellingham Public Schools includes scratch-cooking from the Central Kitchen, fresh salad bars, locally-sourced products, and a variety of options with broad appeal.