P. O. BOX 2120

October 24, 1997


TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Richard T. La Pointe
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Verification Report for Free and Reduced Price Meal Applications & Racial Ethnic Report on Free and Reduced Price Meal Recipients

  1. Verification Data

  The Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1981 (P.L. 97-35) directed
  the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop
  regulations requiring school divisions to verify income
  information submitted on applications for free and reduced
  price meals.

  Verification of information on pupil applications for free and
  reduced price meals must be conducted on a random or focused
  sample, or on all applications by December 15, 1997.

  Each school division is required to submit a report of its
  verification activities to the School Nutrition Programs,
  Virginia Department of Education by January 20, 1998.  A copy
  of the report form is attached.  Please note students who are
  determined to be eligible for free meal benefits based on
  direct certification using  Department of Social Services
  files are not included in the verification file.  The number
  of students directly certified are reported in the top section
  of the report.  When "Family Applications" are used, the
  sample is drawn based on the number of applications on file. 
  The number of children affected by changes in verification are

  A change in eligibility category affects all students in the
  household unless a child is approved on the basis of an Aid to
  Families of Dependent Children (AFDC) VA TANF number rather
  than by income or food stamps.  The verification results must 
  be sent to all schools who have brothers or sisters of a
  student whose eligibility status changes.

  Verification is completed at the time all letters have been
  sent to parents notifying them of a change in the eligibility
  status.  If a family fails to cooperate with the verification
  procedure and reapplies later in the school year, the reported
  income must be verified at the time of the second application.

  The verification procedures, requirements and prototype forms
  can be found in Part 7, page 41-60 in the Eligibility Guidance
  for School Meals Manual (green) and supplements.  If your
  school division has selected the sample of applications to be
  verified from one type of school (high school, middle or
  elementary schools), the school type must be rotated each
  year.  Please ensure that adequate documentation is used to
  verify all incomes reported on the applications.  Copies of
  the documentation  and a description of the verification
  process must be kept on file. 

  2. Racial/Ethnic Data

  U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Civil Rights
  Regulations governing the school feeding programs (National
  School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program) mandate
  that program benefits be provided to all eligible individuals
  without discrimination on the basis of their race, color,
  national origin, sex, age, or disability.  The civil rights
  compliance regulations require specific activities, including
  a report of the number of students approved for free meals,
  reduced price meals, and the number of students denied
  assistance in each of the following racial/ethnic groups: 
  American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian or Pacific Islander,
  Black (not of Hispanic Origin), Hispanic, White (not of
  Hispanic Origin).  The racial/ethnic information is determined
  from the applications on file as of October 31, of each school

  Applicants are requested to indicate their ethnic background
  on their applications for free and reduced price meals.  Since
  that information is not required for application approval,
  many do not complete that item.  Where the information is
  missing from the application, school divisions/schools are to
  secure the information from other school records which may be
  available.  In lieu of other records, school officials should
  make a determination by observation.

  School Nutrition Programs Specialists will be available to
  assist you.  If you need assistance or information, please
  contact a Specialist in the School Nutrition Programs at (804)

  Attachments: A hard copy of this memo and its attachments
               will be sent to the superintendent's office.

  Authority:   P.L. 97-35 Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1981
  Authority:   Title VI of Civil Rights Act