POLICY FOR FREE AND REDUCED-PRICE MEALS ANNOUNCED
North Carolina public school officials have announced the state policy for free and reduced-price meals for children unable to pay the full price of meals served under the National School Lunch, School Breakfast Programs and/or After School Snack.
Each school and central office has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by any interested party. Eligibility will be determined on the following household size and income:
|For each additional household member add:||+ 4,004||+ 334||+77||+ 5,698||+ 475||+110|
Children from families whose income is at or below the levels shown are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.
Application forms are being sent to all homes with a letter to parents or guardians. To apply for free or reduced-price meals, parents or guardians should fill out the application and return it to the school. Applications may be submitted at any time during the year. Additional copies are available at the principal's office in each school. The information provided on the application will be used to determine eligibility. School program officials may verify household income at any time during the school year.
For the school officials to determine eligibility, households receiving food stamps or Work First Family Assistance (WFFA) must list the child's name, their food stamp or WFFA case number, and the signature and name of an adult household member. Households not receiving food stamps or WFFA must list names of all household members, social security numbers of the primary wage earner or the household member who signs the application or a statement that the household member does not possess a social security number, the amount and source of the income received by each household member, and the signature of an adult household member certifying that the information provided is correct.
Households that list a food stamp or WFFA case number must report when the household no longer receives these benefits. Other households approved for benefits are required to report increases in household income of over $50 per month or $600 per year and decreases in household size. Also, if a household member becomes unemployed or if the household size increases, the household should contact the school. Such changes make the children of the household eligible for benefits if the household's income falls at or below the levels shown above.
Under the provisions of the free and reduced-price policy, determining officials from the school food authority review applications and determine eligibility. If a parent or guardian is dissatisfied with the ruling of the official, he/she may wish to discuss the decision with the determining official on an informal basis. If the parent wishes to make a formal appeal, he/she may make a request either orally or in writing to the school food authority for a hearing to appeal the decision. The policy contains an outline of the hearing procedure.
In certain cases, foster children also are eligible for these benefits. If a household has foster children living with them and wishes to apply for such meals for them, the household should advise the school on the application. The information provided by the household on the application is confidential and will be used only for purposes of determining eligibility and verifying data.
Households that receive food stamps or WFFA may not have to complete a school lunch or breakfast application. School officials may determine eligibility for free meals based on documentation obtained directly from the food stamp/WFFA office that a child is a member of a household currently receiving food stamps or is in an assistance unit receiving WFFA. School officials will notify households of their eligibility and that the household must notify the school when they no longer receive food stamps or WFFA. Households who are notified of their eligibility, but who do not want their children to receive free meals, must contact the school. Food stamp and WFFA households should complete an application if they are not notified of their eligibility.
In the operation of the child feeding programs and accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, the institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call 202.720.5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.
For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.