SUPTS. MEMO NO. 3
June 1, 2001
|FROM:||Jo Lynne DeMary
Superintendent of Public Instruction
|SUBJECT:||Confidentiality of Studentsí Eligibility for Free or Reduced Price School Meal Benefits|
Recent amendments to and legal clarification of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (NSLA) and the Child Nutrition Act (CNA), allow changes in the Department of Education's School Nutrition Programs previous instructions regarding the release of information about a studentís eligibility for free or reduced price meals. The disclosure of the information about a studentís eligibility for free or reduced price meals is now possible under certain circumstances and within certain constraints as outlined in this document. However, the statute does not intend that programs or individuals should have unlimited access to free or reduced price eligibility information.
This policy is effective beginning 2001-2002 school year.
This memorandum addresses:
The guidance and instruction provided in this memorandum apply to the confidentiality of information regardless of the manner in which it is maintained including, but not limited to, print, type, microfilm, microfiche, electronic formats, and/or databases.
Attachment 1 is a chart that summarizes the information in the subsequent paragraphs.
I. WHAT INFORMATION CAN BE DISCLOSED WITHOUT PARENTAL CONSENT?
School Food Authorities (SFAs) may disclose school level aggregate free and reduced price meal eligibility information that does not individually identify students. Aggregate information on the number of students approved for free or reduced price meals and/or free milk benefits may be released to any organization or agency having a bona fide use for the information. This information is also available on the Virginia Department of Education's website at http://www.pen.k12.va.us/VDOE/Finance/Nutrition/statistics.html
School Food Authorities may disclose a studentís name and eligibility status, without parental consent, only to those persons directly connected with the administration or enforcement of the following programs:
In addition to names and eligibility status, all information obtained through the free or reduced price meal eligibility process (including information obtained by application or direct certification) may be disclosed, without parental consent, to persons directly connected with the administration and enforcement of the following programs:
YES-- Notification to the household of the plan to disclose eligibility information to State Medicaid or the State Childrenís Health Insurance Programs (VA FAMIS) is mandatory prior to the disclosure.
NO-- Notification to the household of the plan to disclose eligibility information to federal or state education programs, child nutrition programs, comptroller general and law enforcement officials, outside the originating program is not required, but strongly recommended.
The Department of Education, School Nutrition
Programís (DOE-SNP) 2001-2002 Uniform Policy Statement and Annual Letter
of Agreement to Participate in the Federal Programs contains the required
new disclosure language. (See Superintendent's Regulatory Memos #4 and
YES. Prior to disclosure or use of any information for purposes other than for the program for which the information was obtained, the determining agency and the receiving entity must sign a written agreement that describes:
The disclosure of a studentís name and any eligibility information to any individual or program not specifically authorized under the National School Lunch Act (NSLA) requires written parental consent. Some examples of programs that may want to use this information, but would not be authorized to receive this information, without prior written parental consent are:
III. PENALTIES FOR UNAUTHORIZED RELEASE OF A STUDENTíS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION
- Local education or health programs that are not state sponsored.
- Local school level activities that wish to use a studentís eligibility as the basis of determining services or to waive fees associated with things such as text books, field trips, athletic events, or fees for summer school or any similar purpose.
The National School Lunch Act, as amended by PL 103-448 and PL 106-224 (42 U.S.C. ' 1758), establishes penalties for publishing, divulging, disclosing, or making known in any manner or to any extent not authorized by federal law, any information obtained. The penalties may be:
- a fine up to $1,000; or
- imprisonment for up to one year; or
- both a $1,000 fine and imprisonment.
The agency that makes the free and reduced price meal determination is the only agency that can decide to disclose eligibility information.For further information or assistance, please contact the school nutrition specialist assigned to your division or Catherine Digilio Grimes at (804) 225-2074.