Children learn best when they’re free from hunger and their bodies are well nourished.
Posted August 15, 2013
To help accomplish those goals, most North Dakota schools participate in federally funded, state-administered programs that provide eligible children with nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches each school day.
The current income eligibility guidelines for July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014, established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and adopted by local school officials, are listed to the right.
Students from households whose income is at or below the levels listed are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Students receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Special Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, or commodity assistance through the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) are eligible for free meal benefits.
A letter and an application are sent by the schools to the households of all enrolled students. Copies are also available at each school office. School officials use the information on the application only to decide if the students should receive free or reduced price meals.
The information may be released to other federal education programs and state health and education programs. Applications may be submitted at any time during the year.
Households with any member receiving SNAP, TANF or FDPIR are only required to provide the recipient’s name, SNAP, TANF or FDPIR case number, the student’s name and an adult signature.
For other applicants, the household must list the names of all household members, and all household income with the amount, source and frequency of the income received by each household member. If a household member does not have income, the no income box must be checked. An adult signature is required along with the last four digits of the adult’s social security number. The signature of the adult household member certifies that the information provided is correct.
Foster children’s names on a household application with other non-foster children may be included. Foster children are eligible for school meal benefits. Foster children must be the legal responsibility of the welfare agency or the court.
Students who are homeless, runaway or migrant are also eligible for benefits. Household members do not have to be US citizens for students to qualify for benefits.
The school official will review applications and determine eligibility. An application that is not complete cannot be approved. A new application must be completed each year.
If a household does not agree with the decision on the application, the decision may be discussed with the school official on an informal basis. To make a formal appeal, make a request, either orally or in writing, to the school district’s hearing official for a hearing to appeal the decision.
Students having parents or guardians who become unemployed may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals during the period of unemployment provided that the loss of income causes the household income to be within the eligibility criteria. Such changes may affect the eligibility status of the student for free or reduced-price meals.
The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) are programs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These programs are administered to North Dakota schools by the ND Department of Public Instruction’s Child Nutrition Unit.