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Free or Reduced price meals

By Times staff
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 4, 2002

In order for students to receive free or reduced price meals, PARENTS MUST FILL OUT A FREE & REDUCED PRICE MEAL APPLICATION.

The Free or Reduced price meal applications on file for the 2001-2002 school year will expire on Sept. 25, 2002. Once this application expires, students will be required to pay full price for meals until new applications have been approved. For questions or assistance in completing applications, call 726-1931, ext. 2451 or 2429.

Application forms are being sent to all homes with a letter to parents or guardians. To apply for free or reduced price meals, households should fill out the application and return it to the School Board District Office. Additional copies are available in the Food Service Department at the School Board District Office.

The information provided on the application will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by program officials. Households that receive Food Stamps or AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) FOR ALL CHILDREN are required to list on the application only the child's name and Food Stamp or AFDC case number, printed name of adult household member and signature of that adult household member.

For school system officials to determine eligibility, all other households must provide the following information listed on the application: 1) AFDC (TANF) case number, if applicable. 2) The total gross monthly household income must be listed by the amount received for each household member receiving income and the type of income it is (such as wages, child support, etc.) 3) Names of all household members. 4) Social Security number of the head of household or primary wage earner. The social security number listed on the application should belong to the adult household member who is signing the application. If the adult household member who signs the application does not have a Social Security Number, the word "none" should be written in the space provided for the Social Security Number. 5) The signature of an adult household member certifying that the information provided is correct.

Households that list income information and receive meal benefits must report to the District Food Service Administration Office any decrease in household size and any increases in income of more than $50 per month or $600 per year. Households that list a Food Stamp or AFDC/TANF case number must report to the District Food Service Administration Office when Food Stamps or AFDC/TANF is no longer received.

Applications may be submitted at any time during the year. Under provisions of the free and reduced price meal policy, the District Food Service Administrator will review applications and determine eligibility. If a parent wishes to make a formal appeal, he or she may make a request either orally or in writing to David J. Hickey, Superintendent, 1007 W Main St., Inverness, FL 34450 Phone: (352) 726-1931 for a hearing to appeal the decision. The policy contains an outline of the hearing procedure.

* * *

If a household member becomes unemployed or if the household size changes, the District Food Service Administrative Office should be contacted. Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for reduced price meals or for additional benefits such as free meals if the household income falls at or below the levels shown previously.

In certain cases foster children are also 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 contact the District Food Service Administrative Office for more information.

Unless indicated otherwise on the application, the information on the free and reduced price meal application may be used by the school system in determining whether the child is eligible for other educational programs.

In the operation of child feeding programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, no child will be discriminated against because of race, color, national origin, gender, age or disability. If any member of a household believes they have been discriminated against, he should write immediately to USDA, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20250-9410.

-- Information provided by the Citrus County School District

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