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PISD to offer free meals to all students

Princeton ISD announced today that this school year, healthy meals will be offered every school day to all students at no cost. Typically, a student’s household must meet income eligibility requirements to qualify for free or reduced-price meals. However, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued guidance that allows schools to offer meals to all students at no cost for the 2021-2022 school year.

While no application or eligibility determination is required for a student to receive free meals this school year, income eligibility requirements will likely resume in the 2022-2023 school year. As such, Princeton ISD will process household applications during the 2021-2022 school year to ensure student eligibility for free or reduced-price meals during the first 30 days of the 2022-2023 school year while 2022-2023 applications are being processed. Each district has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed upon request.

Beginning today, Princeton ISD started distributing letters to the households of the children in the district about the 2022-2023 eligibility benefits and actions households need to take to apply. Applications also are available at any school or 303 Panther Parkway.

Criteria for free and reduced-price meal benefits to start 2022-2023 school year

The following criteria will be used to determine a child’s eligibility for free or reduced-price meal benefits at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year:

Income

  1. Household income that is at or below the income eligibility levels

Categorical or automatic eligibility

  1. Household receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)

Program participant

  1. Child’s status as a foster child, homeless, runaway, migrant or displaced by a declared disaster
  2. Child’s enrollment in Head Start or Even Start

Income eligibility

For those households that qualify for free or reduced-price meals based on income, an adult in the household must complete the free and reduced-price meal application and return it to Kelly Alvis, Child Nutrition Director, kalvis@princetonisd.net. Those individuals filling out the application will need to provide the following information:

  1. Names of all household members
  2. Amount, frequency and source of current income for each household member
  3. Last 4 digits of the Social Security number of the adult household member who signs the application or, if the adult does not have a social security number, check the box for

“No Social Security number”

  1. Signature of an adult household member attesting that the information provided is correct

Categorical or Program Eligibility

PISD’s child nutrition director is working with local agencies to identify all children who are categorically and program eligible. Kelly Alvis will notify the households of these children that they do not need to complete an application. Any household that does not receive a letter and feels it should have should contact Alvis at kalvis@princetonisd.net.

Any household that wishes to decline benefits should email kalvis@princetonisd.net.

Applications may be submitted anytime during the school year. The information households provide on the application will be used to determine eligibility. Applications may also be verified by school officials at any time during the school year.

Determining Eligibility

Under the provisions of the free and reduced-price meal policy, the director of child nutrition will review applications and determine eligibility. Households or guardians dissatisfied with the Reviewing Official’s eligibility determination may wish to discuss the decision with the Reviewing Official on an informal basis. Households wishing to make a formal appeal for a hearing on the decision may make a request either orally or in writing to Child Nutrition Director Kelly Alvis, kalvis@princetonisd.net.

Unexpected Circumstances

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 attached current income eligibility guidelines. 

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: https://www.usda.gov/oascr/how-to-file-a-program-discrimination-complaint, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by: (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) email: program.intake@usda.gov.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.