News Releases

November 07, 2013

Children Encouraged to Participate in National School Lunch, Breakfast, and After-School Snack Programs

The Vermont Agency of Education Child Nutrition Programs has announced its policy for free or reduced-price meals for children served under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the School Breakfast Program (SBP), and the After-School Snack Program (ASP).

The Agency encourages children to participate in their local school’s meal program and encourages families to complete an application for free and reduced price meal benefits. Each school and/or central office provides free and reduced price meal applications and has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by any interested party. Children from households whose income is at or below the levels shown are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Children who are eligible for reduced price meals will receive breakfast and lunch at no additional charge through state support of school nutrition programs. The household-size and income criteria for determining eligibility adopted by local SFA officials are available at: http://education.vermont.gov/documents/EDU-Child_Nutrition_FRL_Income_Eligibility.pdf

Application forms were sent to all homes with a letter to parents or guardians at the beginning of the school year. To apply for free or reduced-price meals at any time during the year, households should fill out the application and return it to the school. Additional copies are available at the principal’s office in each school or on the Child Nutrition Programs website: http://bit.ly/18DMTYQ. The information provided on the application is confidential and will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by school or other program officials. For SFA officials to determine eligibility, households receiving 3SquaresVT (food stamp benefits) or Reach-Up (TANF) must list the children’s names, a 3SquaresVT or Reach-Up case number, and the signature of an adult household member. All children in households with any household member receiving benefits under assistance programs are eligible for free meals. Children in Other Source Categorically Eligible (i.e.: children categorized as homeless, migrant, runaway, Head Start, Even Start, and foster children, if known) are also eligible for free meals.

IF YOU DO NOT LIST A 3SQUARES VT OR A REACH-UP NUMBER: the application must have the children’s names, total household members, the amount of income each member received last month, the signature of an adult household member, and the last four digits of the adult’s social security number or the mark the box if he or she does not have one. Foster children also categorically qualify for free meals/milk, regardless of the child’s income. If you have foster children living with you and wish to apply for such meals or milk for them, please complete the application as instructed. Under the provisions of the policy, the approving official will review applications and determine eligibility.

Under the provisions of the free and reduced-price meal policy, the determining official(s), as designated by the SFA, shall review applications and determine eligibility. Parents or guardians dissatisfied with the eligibility ruling may discuss the decision with the determining official on an informal basis. Parents may also make a formal request for an appeal hearing of the decision and may do so orally or in writing with the school’s hearing official. Parents or guardians should contact their child(ren)’s school(s) for specific information regarding the name of the determining official and/or hearing official for a specific school or district.

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 levels shown above.

DIRECT CERTIFICATION: Any member of a household currently certified to receive 3SquaresVT and/or Reach-Up benefits will be notified of the enrolled children’s eligibility and that the enrolled children will be provided free benefits unless the household notifies the SFA that it chooses to decline benefits. If 3SquaresVT or Reach-Up households are not notified by their school of their eligibility, they will need to submit an application.

A list of schools participating in the programs is available upon request. For more information, please contact: Laurie Colgan, Director, AOE Child Nutrition Programs at (802) 828-5153 or laurie.colgan@state.vt.us.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 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 USDA. (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: http://1.usa.gov/13P9xiI, 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 USDA by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410, by fax 202-690-7442, or e-mail: 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.

Media Contacts: Angela Ross, 802-828-3154; Laurie Colgan, 802-828-5153

Source: Agency of Education
Last Updated at: November 07, 2013 14:20:14