Fairfax Issues School Meal Guidelines

Fairfax County Public Schools recently announced its policy for providing free or reduced-price meals for the new school year under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.

All students covered

In some schools, all students will be provided a nutritious meal for breakfast and lunch each day at no charge. Households with children attending these schools will not be required to submit a meal application form.

These schools are:

Annandale Terrace Elementary, Bailey’s Elementary, Bailey’s Upper Elementary, Braddock Elementary, Crestwood Elementary, Dogwood Elementary, Garfield Elementary, Glen Forest Elementary, Graham Road Elementary, Groveton Elementary, Hutchison Elementary, Hybla Valley Elementary, Lynbrook Elementary, Mount Vernon Woods Elementary, Parklawn Elementary, Riverside Elementary, Weyanoke Elementary, Woodburn Elementary, and Woodley Hills Elementary.

Household size and income considered

In all other schools, household size and income will be used to determine eligibility for free or reduced-price meal benefits.

Children from households whose income is at or below the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines, shown in the chart below, may be eligible for either free or reduced-price meals. Children who are members of households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (formerly the Food Stamp Program) or who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) may be automatically eligible for free meals.

Children who are homeless, migrant, or runaway may also be automatically eligible for free meals.  Foster children, who are the legal responsibility of a welfare agency or court, are eligible for free meals regardless of the income of the household with whom they reside. Children who are members of households participating in WIC may also be eligible for free or reduced-price meals based on the household’s income.

Application forms are being distributed to households with a letter informing households of the availability of free or reduced-price meals for their children. Applications are also available at the principal’s office in each school, at the central office, and online. To apply for free or reduced-price meals, households must only fill out one application per household and return it to the school division.  Applications may be submitted at any time during the school year.

The information households provide on the application will be used for determining eligibility and verification of data.  Applications may be verified at any time during the school year by school or other program officials.  For school officials to determine eligibility for free or reduced-price benefits, households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) only have to list their child(ren)’s name and SNAP or TANF case number and an adult household member must sign the application.

Households who do not list a SNAP or TANF case number, including WIC households, must list the names of all household members, the amount and frequency of the income received by each household member, and the last four digits of the social security number of the adult household member who signs the application.  If the household member does not have a social security number, the household member must indicate that a social security number is not available.  The application must be signed by an adult household member in order to be approved.

Under the provisions of the free and reduced-price meal policy, Greg Rupert, coordinator, will review applications and determine eligibility.  An application for free or reduced-price meals cannot be approved unless it is complete.  Households dissatisfied with the ruling of the eligibility determining official may wish to discuss the decision with the official on an informal basis.

 

Household

 Size

Maximum Household

Income

 For Free Meals

Household Income

 For

Reduced Price Meals

 

1

$16,237 $16,237.01 – $23,107
 

2

$21,983 $21,983.01 – $31,284
 

3

$27,729 $27,729.01 – $39,461
 

4

$33,475 $33,475.01 – $47,638
 

5

$39,221 $39,221.01 – $55,815
 

6

$44,967 $44,967.01 – $63,992
 

7

$50,713 $50,713.01 – $72,169
 

8

$56,459 $56,459.01 – $80,346
 

For Each Additional

Family Member – ADD

$5,746 $8,177

Households may apply for free or reduced-price meals at any time during the school year.  If a household is not eligible now but has a change, such as a decrease in household income, an increase in household size, becomes unemployed or qualifies for SNAP or TANF, the household should contact the school for an application.  Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for benefits if the household’s income falls at or below the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines.

Households that receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (formerly the Food Stamp Program) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) may not have to complete an application for free or reduced-price student meals.  School officials will determine eligibility for free meals based on documentation, obtained directly from the Virginia Department of Social Services, that a child is a member of a household currently receiving SNAP or TANF.  School officials will notify these households in writing of their eligibility.  Households who are notified of their eligibility, but who do not want their children to receive free meals, must contact the school.  SNAP and TANF households must complete an application if they are not notified in writing of their automatic eligibility within the first 10 days of the new school year.

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About the Author

Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.