SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 4
April 12, 1996
|FROM:||William C. Bosher, Jr.
Superintendent of Public Instruction
|SUBJECT:||Uniform Policy Statement for Free and Reduced Price
Meals: 1996-97 School Year
Supts Memo #4, Uniform Policy Statement for Free and Reduced Price Meals: 1996-97 School Year,dated April 12, 1996 was errorneously numbered #3. The memo below reflects this change. A hard copy of this memo will not be reissued, please alter the copy you have received. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.
Federal regulations governing the National School Lunch Program and the Child Nutrition Programs require each school division to submit to the Department of Education a "Uniform Policy Statement for Free and Reduced Price Meals." One copy of the prototype "Policy Statement for Free and Reduced Price Meals," attachments, and instructions for completion was sent under separate cover to the School Nutrition Program director or contact person. Please review the instructions and attachments carefully. Two (2) copies of the policy statement and all attachments, with original signatures, must be returned to the State School Nutrition Programs Office no later than July 1, 1996 for approval. School divisions have the option of directly certifying children who receive food stamps or AFDC benefits for free meals. This method has benefits for the food stamp/AFDC households and the school division. Eligibility can be determined before the start of the school year without the paper applications submitted by the household. Administrative workload is reduced significantly by eliminating paper applications for these children. In addition children, who are directly certified, are not included in the verification of eligibility for free meals. The Department, in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Social Services, offers to all Virginia school divisions a data file listing school age children within their demographic areas who receive Food Stamp/AFDC benefits. This list may be used only for the direct certification of school children for free school breakfasts and/or lunches or for the special milk program. School divisions may request permission to implement the direct certification program in Attachment H of the Policy Statement. To assist school divisions, the Department of Education plans to provide a data file of the names and appropriate identifiers of Food Stamp/AFDC eligible school age children in July. The information may be either a computerized data tape/disk or a spreadsheet print-out. The computerized data tape/disk will be provided in standard ASCII format and will enable school divisions with automation capability to load and use the information with the school division student database. The school division must describe on Attachment H the exact procedures it will use to directly certify children. NOTE: Students' eligibility for free or reduced price meals whether determined through direct certification or application is confidential and may not be released, shared, or used for any non-program purpose without written permission of parents or guardians. The child's eligibility for free or reduced-price meals, code, and/or data may not be stored or used in any computerized file or data base, unless the information and/or data field is in a protected file requiring the use of a controlled password to access the information. This file may only be accessed by eligibility determination officials and persons who issue benefits. There have been numerous requests to use the names of children receiving free or reduced price meals. THIS INFORMATION IS STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL AND MAY NOT BE USED WITHOUT THE INFORMED WRITTEN CONSENT OF THE PARENT OR GUARDIAN. SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS CAN NOT BE RELEASED. To assist school divisions who would like to request permission from parents or guardians to release free or reduced price eligibility, an optional paragraph is included in the notification of eligibility letters (Attachments C1 and C2). This paragraph must describe what the eligibility information will be used for, why it is needed, and request that the parent sign and send or take the letter to the school official responsible for that program. It is recommended that the policy statement be submitted as soon as possible. Reimbursement cannot be paid to any school division for school year 1996 school breakfast and lunch claims without an approved policy statement. Any changes from the prototype attachments or in collection procedures during the school year must be approved by this office prior to implementation. A copy of the approved policy statement must be on file at each participating school/unit. If you need assistance in completing the attachments and/or developing procedures, contact a School Nutrition Programs Specialist or Dr. Jane Logan, Director, (804) 225-2082. WCBjr/idl Authority Statement: U.S. Department of Agriculture Regulations (7 CFR Part 245)