SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 9
October 15, 1999
|FROM:||Paul D. Stapleton
Superintendent of Public Instruction
|SUBJECT:||Verification and Racial/Ethnic Report for Free and Reduced-Price Meal Applications|
Federal regulations governing the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs require that school divisions annually select and verify a sample of applications approved for free or reduced-priced meals. The verification procedures, requirements, and prototype forms can be found in Part 7, pages 41-60 of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's publication FNS #274 Eligibility Guidance for School Meals Manual and supplements that have been distributed to every school division. The sample size must be based on the number of meal applications on file as of October 31, 1999, although school divisions may begin verification immediately. School divisions may project the number of approved applications they anticipate will be on file on October 31, based on their experience; however, each school division must compare its estimate to the actual number of meal applications on file on October 31 and increase the sample size, if necessary. Students approved for free meals through the Direct Certification process are excluded from the sample size. Verification must be completed by December 15, 1999. Verification is completed at the time all letters have been sent to parents or guardians notifying them of the change in eligibility status if any such notification is required. The attached Verification Report (AC.019 9/99) must be submitted to the Virginia Department of Education's Office of School Nutrition Programs by January 20, 2000. Important Points to Remember: 1. The sample size depends on the number of the actual approved applications on file, not the number of children represented. 2. Students who are determined to be eligible for free meal benefits based on direct certification are not included in the verification process; however, the number of students directly certified must also be recorded in the space provided at the top of the Verification Report Form. 3. A change in an eligibility category must be extended to all children in a household. The results from the verification must be sent to all individual schools where the affected children are enrolled. 6. Copies of the documentation used to verify all incomes reported on the applications and a description of the verification process must be kept on file. Racial/Ethnic Data Section 4 of the Verification Report requires school divisions to provide a racial/ethnic breakdown of all students who have applied for meal benefits. This includes those who have been approved for free meals, reduced-price meals, and those students who have been denied benefits. The racial/ethnic information is also based on the number of meal applications on file as of October 31. The applications for free and reduced-priced meals have a section for households to indicate their racial/ethnic background; however, since this information is not required for application approval, many do not complete that item. If this information is missing from the application, school divisions are to acquire the information from other school records that may be available or make a determination by observation. As a reminder, the verification letters used to notify households (found in the supplement, Eligibility Guidance for School Meals Manual) must include the revised non-discrimination statement as follows: USDA prohibits discrimination in all its program on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Washington D.C. 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-9564. Questions can be directed to Catherine Digilio Grimes, director, School Nutrition Programs at (804) 225-2074/2082. Thank you for your continuing support. PDS/idl Enclosure: A hard copy of this memo and its attachment Will be sent to the superintendent's office. .