Weakley County Schools and Weakley County School Nutrition announces policy for free and reduced-price meals

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Weakley County Schools and Weakley County School Nutrition today announced its policy for free and reduced-price meals for children served in schools under the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program. Local school officials have adopted the following household size and income criteria for determining eligibility:

Children need healthy meals to learn. Weakley County Schools offers healthy meals every school day. Breakfast is free for all students; lunch costs $3.25. Your children may qualify for free meals or for reduced price meals. Reduced price is $.40 for lunch. Below are some common questions and answers to help you with the application process.

For School Year 2023-2024 Sharon School will continue participation in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). If your child attends Sharon School, no further action is required of you. This USDA provision allows child(ren) at CEP Schools to participate in the school meal programs without having to pay a fee or submit a meal application. CEP is a key provision of the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, which allows schools and school districts in low-income areas to eliminate school meal applications and serve breakfast and lunch at no charge to all enrolled students. CEP gives food service professionals more time to focus on preparing nutritious meals that their students will enjoy and gives students more time to eat those meals by cutting down on time spent in the lunch line. More importantly, by offering all students a nutritious breakfast and lunch at no cost, CEP helps ensure more students come to class well-nourished and ready to learn.

1. WHO CAN GET FREE OR REDUCED PRICE MEALS?

• All children in households receiving benefits from SNAP or TANF, are eligible for free meals.

• All children in the households receiving benefits from Medicaid are eligible for free or reduced meals.

• Foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court are eligible for free meals.

• Children participating in their school’s Head Start program are eligible for free meals.

• Children who meet the definition of homeless, runaway, or migrant are eligible for free meals.

• Children who are directly certified are eligible to receive free meals.

• When known to Weakley County Schools, households will be notified of their children’s eligibility for free meals based on their participation (or a household member’s participation) in the: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), if the State program meets Federal standards.

• When known to Weakley County Schools, households will be notified of any child’s eligibility for free meals based on the individual child’s designation as Other Source Categorically Eligible, as defined by law. Children are determined Other Source Categorically Eligible if they are: Homeless, Migrant, Runaway, Foster, or enrolled in a school based PreK program

• (see: SP 40-2013: Q&As Regarding the Participation of Head Start Programs in Child Nutrition Programs, https://www.fns.usda.gov/qas-regarding-participation-head…)

2. HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILDREN QUALIFY AS HOMELESS, MIGRANT, OR RUNAWAY? Do the members of your household lack a permanent address? Are you staying together in a shelter, hotel, or other temporary housing arrangement? Does your family relocate on a seasonal basis? Are any children living with you who have chosen to leave their prior family or household? If you believe children in your household meet these descriptions and haven’t been told your children will get free meals, please call or e-mail your principal.

3. DO I NEED TO FILL OUT AN APPLICATION FOR EACH CHILD? No. Use one Free and Reduced-Price School Meals Application for all students in your household. We cannot approve an application that is not complete, so be sure to fill out all required information. Return the completed application to your child’s school.

4. SHOULD I FILL OUT AN APPLICATION IF I RECEIVED A LETTER THIS SCHOOL YEAR SAYING MY CHILDREN ARE ALREADY

APPROVED FOR FREE MEALS? No, but please read the letter you got carefully and follow the instructions. If any children in your household were missing from your eligibility notification, contact your cafeteria manager immediately.

5. CAN I APPLY ONLINE?

Yes! You are encouraged to complete an online application instead of a paper application if you are able. The online application has the same requirements and will ask you for the same information as the paper application. Visit www.schoolcafe.com to begin or to learn more about the online application process. Contact your cafeteria manager or Trista Snider if you have any questions about the online application.

6. MY CHILD’S APPLICATION WAS APPROVED LAST YEAR. DO I NEED TO FILL OUT A NEW ONE? Yes. Your child’s application is only

good for that school year and for the first few days of this school year. You must send in a new application unless the school told you that your child is eligible for the new school year. If you do not send in a new application that is approved by the school or you have not been notified that your child is eligible for free meals, your child will be charged the full price for meals.

7. I GET WIC. CAN MY CHILDREN GET FREE MEALS? Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Please send in an application.

8. WILL THE INFORMATION I GIVE BE CHECKED? Yes. In accordance with program regulations school officials will be verifying the income of some households at some time during the school year. Selected households will be requested to provide income documentation in order to continue receiving free and reduced-price meals.

9. IF I DON’T QUALIFY NOW, MAY I APPLY LATER? Yes, you may apply at any time during the school year. For example, children with a parent or guardian who becomes unemployed may become eligible for free and reduced-price meals if the household income drops below the income limit.

10. WHAT IF I DISAGREE WITH THE SCHOOL’S DECISION ABOUT MY APPLICATION? You should talk to school officials. You also may ask for a hearing by calling or writing to: Trista Snider@wcsk12tn.net.

11. MAY I APPLY IF SOMEONE IN MY HOUSEHOLD IS NOT A U.S. CITIZEN? Yes. You, your children, or other household members do not have to be U.S. citizens to apply for free or reduced-price meals.

12. WHAT IF MY INCOME IS NOT ALWAYS THE SAME? List the amount that you normally receive. For example, if you normally make $1000 each month, but you missed some work last month and only made $900, put down that you made $1000 per month. If you normally get overtime, include it, but do not include it if you only work overtime sometimes. If you have lost a job or had your hours or wages reduced, use your current income.

13. WHAT IF SOME HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS HAVE NO INCOME TO REPORT? Household members may not receive some types of income we ask you to report on the application or may not receive income at all. Whenever this happens, please write a 0 in the field. However, if any income fields are left empty or blank, those will also be counted as zeroes. Please be careful when leaving income fields blank, as we will assume you meant to do so.

14. DO I HAVE TO PROVIDE MY SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER? Only the last 4 digits of the social security number of the household’s primary wage earner or another adult household member (or an indication of “none”) is required.

15. MAY I DECLINE BENEFITS? Yes. Households notified of their children’s eligibility must contact Trista Snider or the school cafeteria manager if they choose to decline the free meal benefits.

16. WHAT IF ALL CHILDREN ELIGIBLE FOR BENEFITS ARE NOT ON THE NOTICE OF ELIGIBILITY LETTER? If children or households receive benefits under Assistance Programs or Other Source Categorically Eligible Programs and are not listed on the notice of eligibility and are not notified by the school of their free meal benefits, the parent or guardian should contact the school or should submit an income application.

17. WE ARE IN THE MILITARY. DO WE REPORT OUR INCOME DIFFERENTLY? Your basic pay and cash bonuses must be reported as income. If you get any cash value allowances for off-base housing, food, or clothing, it must also be included as income. However, if your housing is part of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, do not include your housing allowance as income. Any additional combat pay resulting from deployment is also excluded from income.

18. WHAT IF THERE ISN’T ENOUGH SPACE ON THE APPLICATION FOR MY FAMILY? List any additional household members on a separate piece of paper and attach it to your application.

19. MY FAMILY NEEDS MORE HELP. ARE THERE OTHER PROGRAMS WE MIGHT APPLY FOR? To find out how to apply for SNAP or other assistance benefits, contact your local assistance office or call (866) 311-4287.

If you have other questions or need help, call 731-364-3347.

Sincerely,

Trista Snider, Weakley County School Nutrition Director

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USDA NONDISCRIMINATION STATEMENT

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at: USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:

1. mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or

2. fax: (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or

3. email: program.intake@usda.gov

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

FIND THIS INFO AND MORE AT: weakleycountyschools.com

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