Free and reduced-price meals available to qualifying students

August 7, 2013

Northside ISD will again participate in the National School Lunch Program which provides free and reduced-price meals for students from households with qualifying incomes. Households must apply every year for the meal program, and meal benefits from last school year will expire on Oct. 7 if there is not a current 2013-14 meal application on file at the Free and Reduced Office.

Northside ISD mailed letters to the households of the children in the district about eligibility benefits and any actions households need to take to apply for these benefits. Applications also are available at each school campus, at the Child Nutrition Building at 7520 Mainland Drive, by calling 397-4517, or by applying online.

Beginning on Aug. 19 and running through Sept. 5, the Free and Reduced Lunch Program office will offer extended service hours from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Friday. For more information, call the Free and Reduced Lunch Program office at 397-4517.

Criteria for Free and Reduced-Price Meal Benefits

The following criteria will be used to determine a child’s eligibility for free or reduced-price meal benefits:

Income

1.    Household income that is at or below the income eligibility levels

Categorical or Automatic Eligibility

2.    Household receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)

Program Participant

3.    Child’s status as a foster child, homeless, runaway, migrant, or displaced by a declared disaster

4.    Child’s enrollment in Head Start or Even Start

Income Eligibility

For those households that qualify for free or reduced-price meals based on income, an adult in the household must fill out free and reduced-price meal application online or on a paper application form and return it to the Child Nutrition Building at 7520 Mainland Drive. Those individuals filling out the application will need to provide the following information:

1.    Names of all household members

2.    Amount, frequency, and source of current income for each household member

3.    Last 4 digits of the Social Security number of the adult household member who signs the application or, if the adult does not have a social security number, check the box for “I do not have a Social Security number”

4.    Signature of an adult household member attesting that the information provided is correct

Categorical or Program Eligibility

Northside ISD is working with local agencies to identify all children who are categorically and program eligible. Northside ISD will notify the households of these children that they do not need to complete an application. Any household that does not receive a letter and feels it should have should contact the Northside ISD Free and Reduced Meal Program Office at 397-4517.

Any household that wishes to decline benefits should contact the Northside ISD Free and Reduced Meal Program Office at 397-4517.

Applications may be submitted anytime during the school year. The information households provide on the application will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility. Applications may also be verified by the school officials at any time during the school year.

Determining Eligibility

Under the provisions of the free and reduced-price meal policy, the Northside ISD Free and Reduced Meal Program Office staff will review applications and determine eligibility. Households or guardians dissatisfied with the Reviewing Official’s eligibility determination may wish to discuss the decision with the Reviewing Official on an informal basis. Households wishing to make a formal appeal for a hearing on the decision may make a request either orally or in writing to the Northside ISD Child Nutrition Department Assistant Director for Finance at 397-4517.

Unexpected Circumstances

If a household member becomes unemployed or if the household size increases, the household should contact the school. Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for benefits if the household’s income falls at or below the attached current income eligibility guidelines.

The U.S Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.) If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at program.intake@usda.gov. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish).USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.