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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
The Kern County Superintendent of Schools and all of Kern County's 47 public school districts announce the policy for providing free and reduced-price meals for children served under the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program.
Each school or district office has a copy of the policy, which may now be reviewed.
The household size and income criteria identified below will be used to determine eligibility for free, reduced-price, or full-price meal benefits. Children from households whose income is at or below the levels shown here are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Children who receive Food Stamp (CalFresh), California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs), Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payments (Kin-GAP), Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) benefits or are in Foster Care are automatically eligible for free meals regardless of the income of the household in which they reside.
Application forms are being distributed to all households with a letter informing them of the availability of free and reduced-price meals for enrolled children. Applications are also available at the principal's office in each school. To apply for free or reduced-price meal benefits, households must complete an application and return it to the school for processing. Applications may be submitted at any time during the school year. The information households provide on the application will be used to determine meal eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by school or program officials.
Requirements for school officials to determine eligibility for free and reduced-price benefits are as follows: For households receiving Food Stamp (CalFresh), CalWORKs, Kin-GAP, or FDPIR benefits - applications need only include the enrolled child(ren)'s name, Food Stamp (CalFresh), CalWORKs, Kin-GAP, or FDPIR case number, and the signature of an adult household member. For households who do not list a Food Stamp, CalWORKs, Kin-GAP, or FDPIR case number, the application must include the names of all household members, the amount and source of the income received by each household member, and the signature and corresponding last 4 digits of the Social Security number of the signing adult household member. If the household member who signs the application does not have a Social Security number, the household member must indicate on the application that a Social Security number is not available.
Under the provisions of the free and reduced-price meal policy, the determining official(s), as designated by the sponsor/agency, shall review applications and determine eligibility. Parents or guardians dissatisfied with the eligibility ruling may discuss the decision with the determining official on an informal basis. Parents may also make a formal request for an appeal hearing of the decision and may do so orally or in writing with the sponsor/agency's hearing official. Parents or guardians should contact their child(ren)'s school(s) for specific information regarding the name of the determining official and/or hearing official for a specific school, agency, or district.
If a household member becomes unemployed or if the household size increases, the household should contact the school. Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for benefits if the household's income falls at or below the levels shown above.
In accordance with federal law and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.
To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 or (202) 720-6382 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
-- Kern County Superintendent of Schools