IPS approves universal free breakfast & lunch, expanded Pre-K

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The Indianapolis Public Schools board Tuesday night approved universal free breakfast and lunch across the entire district.

Starting next school year, districts across the state are eligible to take part in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010. The measure gives an alternate method for counting and claiming student meals in high poverty areas.

Under CEP, IPS plans to serve all students in CEP designated schools breakfast and lunch at no charge for up to four consecutive school years starting with the 2014-15 year.

An alternate method of data collection will be used to meet state department of education requirements for textbook assistance and other programs requiring student level poverty data.

Other decisions were passed Tuesday night as well, following months of feedback from the public on what's working and what's not in the district.

A 30 page stakeholder survey outlines what parents, teachers, staff and students want from IPS. With more than 6,000 of those stakeholders responding, that feedback showed the greatest challenge in the district is disruptive students and limited discipline. The greatest strength - dedicated teachers and staff who ensure student success. The survey also showed stakeholders want to see expanded athletic opportunities, art and music classes, more after-school programs and increased technology in classrooms.

Also on Tuesday night's agenda was the school calendar.

"In this recommendation, we are identifying makeup days for families and staff to plan in advance should we have inclement weather in the 2014-15 school year," explained IPS Superintendent Dr. Lewis Ferebee.

Snow days will be made up during spring break instead of tacking on extra days to the school year.

The board also voted and approved to expand Pre-K in the district.

A final plan from the stakeholder survey will be drafted and revised over the next few months, with a launch in the summer of 2015. You can see the entire document by clicking here.