COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 4
April 12, 1996

REGULATORY

TO: Division Superintendents
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)