Area school districts announced the 2016-17 free and reduced price meal policy for area school children. Local school officials have adopted the accompanying family eligibility criteria (see graphic) to assist them in determining eligibility.

SNAP/TANF/FDPIR Households: Households which currently include children who receive SNAP but who are not found during the DCMP, or Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), or the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) must complete an application listing the child's name, a SNAP, TANF, or FDPIR case number and the signature of an adult household member, or provide an eligibility letter for free meals/milk from the New York State Education Department.

Other Households: Households with incomes the same or below the amount of money listed above for their family size may be eligible for and are urged to apply for free and/or reduced price meals (or free milk). They may do so by filling in the application forms sent home with a letter to parents. Additional copies are available at area schools and may be submitted at any time.

The information provided on the application will be confidential and will be used for determining eligibility. The school district does, however, have the right to verify the information at any time during the school year. If a parent does not give the school this information, the child/children will no longer be able to receive free or reduced price meals.

Foster children may also be eligible for these benefits. A separate application for a foster child is no longer necessary. Foster children may be listed on the application as a member of the family where they reside. Applications must include the foster child’s name and personal use income.

Under the provisions of the policy, the designated official will review applications and determine eligibility. If a parent is dissatisfied with the ruling of the designated official, he/she may make a request either orally or in writing for a hearing to appeal the decision. Hearing procedures are outlined in the policy. However, prior to initiating the hearing procedure, the parent or School Food Authority may request a conference to provide an opportunity for the parent and official to discuss the situation, present information, and obtain an explanation of the data submitted in the application or the decisions rendered. The request for a conference shall not in any way prejudice or diminish the right to a fair hearing.

For detailed information on the policy, its guidelines and the application process, contact your local school district.