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5.26.P.1 Free and Reduced Price Food Services

Section 5.26 - Policy


Free and reduced price meals will be provided to all students who are eligible.   The District shall have an approved free and reduced-price policy statement on file at the Arizona Department of Education.

The designated official shall determine which individual children are eligible for free or reduced price meals and will ensure compliance with all policies, rules and regulations of the United States Department of Agriculture and the Arizona Department of Education.

In providing free and reduced-price meals, the District shall:

Provide for public announcements.  Near the beginning of the school year, an announcement must be made to notify the public of the availability of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the School Breakfast Program (SBP) and the School Milk Program (SMP).  The notice must include the eligibility criteria for reduced price meals and/or milk.  The public news release will be provided to the local news media.  The District shall submit a public/press release to local employment offices and major employers contemplating layoffs in the attendance area of the school.  Copies of the public release shall be made available upon request to any interested party.  

Send notices to households (Parent Letter).  A letter or notice informing households about the availability of the school meal program is to be distributed at the beginning of each school year.

The letter must state the option of free and reduced price benefits.  An application form must be distributed to all households of children in attendance at the school who were not determined eligible through Direct Certification match results or from the migrant/homeless/runaway list.  The application should not be distributed earlier than July 1, or no more than thirty (30) days prior to the beginning of the school year, whichever is later.  New students enrolling in school after the school year begins must be provided a letter/notice and application form when they enroll.

Applications for free or reduced price meals programs shall be available to students at all times during the regular school day.

Provide for Foreign Language Translations.  In schools where a significant number or proportion of the population eligible to be served needs information in a language other than English, the District must make reasonable efforts, considering the size and concentration of such population, to send appropriate non-English language household letters/notices and application forms to such households.  Schools will provide households with assistance in completing applications through the use of foreign language personnel.

Enforce Confidentiality/Disclosure of Eligibility.  All procedures shall ensure that names of children eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals shall not be published, posted, or announced in any manner.  Information such as family size, income and social security numbers shall remain confidential and shall not be shared for any purpose.  No individual indicators of participation shall be maintained in the permanent record of any pupil not otherwise allowed by law.

Disclosure may be made of aggregate information, such as the number of children eligible for free or reduced price meals, to any program or individual.  Aggregate information shall not identify children. 

Ensure Nondiscrimination Practice.  There shall be no overt identification of any eligible children by use of special tickets, special tokens, serving lines, separate entrances, separate dining areas, or by any other means.  When more than one (1) lunch, breakfast or type of milk is offered, the children shall have the same choice of meals that is available to those children who pay the full price.

Children shall not work for their meal unless other children are required to do so as part of their educational training.

No child shall be discriminated against because of race, color, national origin, religion, age, sex or handicap.

Parents/guardians who appeal the challenge of decisions on applications and school officials’ challenges to the correctness of information contained in an application or of continued eligibility of any students for free or reduced-price meals shall have a fair hearing.  During an appeal and hearing, the student will continue to receive free or reduced-price meals.