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Rockwall ISD students can receive free school lunches, breakfasts in 2012-13

ROCKWALL – Free and reduced-price lunches and breakfasts will again be served to students at Rockwall ISD schools during 2012-13 as part of the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs.

Application forms are being sent to all households in which an RISD student lives with a letter explaining how to apply and qualify for free and reduced-price meals. Applications also are available at each school and on-line.

According to a news release from RISD, household size and income criteria will be used to determine eligibility for free and reduced-price benefits.  For example, in households with 4 family members, students can qualify for free meals when the household income is at or below an income of $29,965. Students from families of 4 can qualify for reduced-price meals if the household income is at or below $42,643.

Foster children who are the legal responsibility of the state agency or court may also be eligible for free meal benefits regardless of the income of the household with whom they reside.

To apply for free and reduced-price meals, households must fill out the application and return it to the school cafeteria or the Child Nutrition office, 1050 Williams St., Rockwall, TX 75087.  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 and verification of data.  Applications may be verified for proof of income by school officials at any time during the school year.

For school officials to determine eligibility for free and reduced-price benefits, households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (formerly Food Stamps) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) only have to list their child’s name and SNAP or TANF case number.  An adult household member must sign the application.

Households that do not list a SNAP/TANF case number must list the names of all household members, the amount and source of the income received by each household member, and the last four (4) digits of the Social Security number of the adult household member who signs the application.  If the adult who signs the application does not have a Social Security number, the household member must indicate that a Social Security number is not available by writing the work “None,” “No Number,” or some indication that the person does not have a Social Security number.  The application must be signed by an adult household member.

Under the provisions of the free and reduced-price meal policy, the Child Nutrition Department Director’s Secretary will review applications and determine eligibility.  Parents or guardians dissatisfied with the ruling of the official may wish to discuss the decision with the reviewing official on an informal basis. Parents wishing to make a formal appeal for a hearing on the decision may make a request either orally or in writing to Jeff Bailey, Superintendent.

If a household member becomes unemployed or if the household size increases, the household should contact the Child Nutrition office @  972-771-8201 .  Such changes may make the students of the household eligible for benefits if the household’s income falls at or below the federal levels.

The Child Nutrition office has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by an interested party. It reads:

“In accordance with Federal law and United States Department of Agriculture policy, this 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 Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call toll free  (866) 632-9992  (Voice).Individuals who are hearing impaired 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”.

By J.J. Smith

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