Chesterfield County Public Schools re-introduces federal food program to high schools

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High school cafeterias in Chesterfield County Public Schools are changing. For the first time in 20 years, they are returning to the federal breakfast and lunch program.

What does this mean for families?

The biggest change is that families with high school students will now be able to apply for free or reduced-price meals, just like families with elementary and middle school students. Families are urged to apply as soon as possible.

The online application for free or reduced-price school meals is available here: http://mychesterfieldschools.com/food-and-nutrition-services/. Printed copies of the application are available for pick up at schools and at the school system’s Food and Nutrition Services Office at 7610 Whitepine Road and are also being distributed to students.

Information that families submit is entirely confidential. Going through the cafeteria line is exactly the same for students receiving free or reduced-price meals as it is for students who do not qualify for the program: There is no difference.

Only one application per family is required. Household size and income determine whether a family qualifies for free or reduced-price meals under the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program:

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Other children who may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals are homeless, migrant or runaway children; foster children who are the legal responsibility of a welfare agency or court, regardless of the income of the household in which they reside; and children in households participating in the Women, Infants and Children Program.Children in households enrolled in SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which was formerly the food stamp program) or TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) may not need to complete an application for free or reduced-price meals. However, if SNAP or TANF families were not contacted before school opened Sept. 8, they should fill out an application for free or reduced-price meals.

Breakfast includes an entrée, two fruits and milk. A full lunch includes an entrée or sandwich, one or two vegetables, one or two fruits and milk. The full price of breakfast is $1.50. The full price of lunch is $2.30 in elementary schools, $2.40 in middle schools and $2.75 in high schools. During the 2015-2016 year, Chesterfield County Public Schools will waive the reduced fee so that students who qualify for reduced-price breakfasts and lunches will receive them free.

School officials will review applications and notify households of their eligibility. Households may discuss the ruling or get more information by calling Rebecca Bryant at 743-3722. Families whose application is denied may appeal the decision by contacting Chris Sorenson, Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance, 7610 Whitepine Road, North Chesterfield, Va. 23237, phone 743-3722. Appeals may be made orally or in writing.

If a household is not eligible now for free or reduced-price meals but experiences a financial change during the year, then a parent or guardian should submit another application. Families who are notified of their eligibility but who do not want their children to receive free meals should call Rebecca Bryant at 743-3722.

The nondiscrimination policy for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program, is available here: www.fns.usda.gov/usda-nondiscrimination-statement.