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Rockwall ISD returns to application requirement for free and reduced-price school lunches – Blue Ribbon News

Back to school and back to normal in the cafeteria

Rockwall ISD (August 3, 2022) – During the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress authorized spending to allow schools to offer free lunches to all students. Those funds are not authorized to continue through the 2022-2023 school year. As a result, Rockwall ISD should return to charging for school lunches and provide free and reduced-price meals to students based on eligibility. Families are encouraged to complete an application for free and reduced price school meals available at or in your child’s cafeteria or school front office.

The application determines a child’s eligibility for free and reduced-price meals and may assist in determining eligibility for other state or federal benefits. Only one application per household needs to be completed. Schools inform families of the child’s eligibility.

Decisions regarding the payment of school meals are made at national-government level, not by the school nutrition team or the TDA. The dedicated staff at Rockwall ISD look forward to serving students healthy, balanced meals in the new school year. These meals, whether paid, free, or low-cost, provide children with a good source of nutrition.

Criteria for free and reduced-price meal benefits

The following criteria are used to determine a child’s eligibility for free or reduced-price meal benefits:

Income eligibility
1. Household income at or below income eligibility levels

Categorical or automatic eligibility
2. Families receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR).

Eligibility of Program Participants
3. Status of foster child, homeless, runaway, migrant or child displaced by declared disaster
4. Enrollment of child in Head Start or Even Start

Income eligibility
For families who qualify for free or reduced-price meals based on income, adults in the household must fill out a free and reduced-price lunch application and return it to Child Nutrition, 1050 Williams Street, Rockwall, TX 75087. The following information needs to be provided in the application:
1. Names of all household members
2. Amount, frequency and source of current income for each household member
3. The last 4 digits of the Social Security number of the adult household member signing the application, or if the adult does not have a Social Security number, check the “No Social Security Number” box.
4. Signature of an adult household member confirming that the information provided is correct

Category or Program Participant Eligibility
Rockwall ISD is working with local agencies to identify all children who are categorical and program eligible. Rockwall ISD will notify these children’s homes that they are not required to complete an application. Any household who did not receive a letter and feels they should receive one can contact Deanna Stacey, Secretary to the Director, at 972-771-8201.
Any household wishing to decline benefits should contact Deanna Stacey, Secretary to the Director, 972-771-8201.
Applications can be submitted at any time during the school year. The information provided by families in the application is used for the purpose of determining eligibility. Applications may be reviewed by school officials at any time during the school year.

Determining eligibility
Under the provisions of the Free and Reduced Price Meal Policy, Deanna Stacey, Secretary to the Director, reviews applications and determines eligibility. Families or parents who are dissatisfied with a review officer’s eligibility determination may wish to discuss the decision with the review officer on an informal basis. Families wishing to make a formal request for a decision hearing may make a request orally or in writing to Will Saley, Executive Director of Operations, 1191 TL Townsend Drive, Rockwall, TX 75087, 469-698-7157.

Unforeseen circumstances
If a household member is unemployed or the size of the household increases, the household should contact the school. Such changes may make the household’s children eligible for benefits if the household’s income is at or below the current income eligibility guidelines attached.

In the operation of child nutrition programs, no child shall be discriminated against because of race, sex, color, national origin, age, or disability. This organization is an Equal Opportunity Organization.

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