Pulaski County Public Schools announced their policy last week for providing free or reduced price meals for children served under the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.
Each school and central nutrition office has a copy of the policy, which is available by the school for viewing. Household size and income will be used to determine eligibility for those benefits.
Children from households with an income at or below Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines can be eligible for those meals. Those members of households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) could also be eligible.
Homeless, migrant, and runaway children could also qualify, while foster children who are the legal responsibility of a court or welfare agency will be eligible for those benefits regardless of the household income where they live. Children living in households participating in WIC could also be eligible for free or reduced-price meals, depending on household income.
Application forms are currently being distributed to all households with a letter informing them of free or reduced price meal availability for their children. Those applications are also available at the principal’s office in each school, as well as the central office.
Households can only fill out one application and return it to the school division in order to apply for those benefits, which can be submitted at any time during the school year. Information provided on the application will determine eligibility and verification of data for free or reduced price benefits.
Any households receiving SNAP benefits or TANF will only have to list their children’s names and case number, along with a signature from an adult in the home. Those who do not list the case number will need to list the names of all household members, the amount and frequency of income received by each person in the house, and the last four digits of the social security number of the adult signing the application.
Household members without a social security number must indicate that a social security number is not available, and an adult signature is required for the application to be approved.
School Nutrition Director Ethelene Sadler and Office Assistant Constance Paul will review those applications to determine eligibility. Applications for those benefits will not be approved unless they are complete.
Any household that is not satisfied with the ruling of their eligibility can discuss the decision with an official on an informal basis. Those wishing to make a formal appeal for a hearing on the decision can submit a verbal request to PCPS Superintendent Thomas Brewster, or in writing by sending them to Thomas M. Brewster, Ed.D 202 N. Washington Ave. Pulaski, VA 24301. He can be reached by phone at 540-994-2519.
Any household that is not eligible now but has a change, such as a decrease in household income, an increase in household size, unemployment, should contact the school for an application. Those changes could make children of the household eligible for benefits if the household’s income falls at or below Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines.
Households receiving SNAP benefits or TANF may not have to complete an application for free or reduced price meals. School officials will determine eligibility based on documentation obtained directly from the Virginia Department of Social Services verifying the child as a member of household receiving those benefits.
If they are eligible, school officials will notify those households in writing. Those who qualify, but do not want their children to receive free meals, should contact the school.
SNAP and TANF households are required to complete an application if they are not notified in writing of their automatic eligibility within the first 10 days of the new school year.