With the start of a new school year, districts are busy collecting school meal benefit information. There are three methods through which students may be approved for school meal benefits.
When approving applications for meal benefits, the school district’s approving officer should first consult the direct certification list provided by the Maine Department of Education on the Child Nutrition Services reporting site. During the school year, this list must be checked three times. The Maine DOE suggests checking once during each of the first three quarters of the school year. Students listed on the direct certification list do not need to complete an application. If these students’ households submit an application, it should be completed as a direct certification application. These applications do not need to be reviewed and will not be counted when completing the required verification process in October.
The second method for approving students is called “Other Source Categorically Eligible” and includes foster, migrant and homeless children. These students may use the application process or an approved list from the program coordinator, such as the homeless coordinator for homeless students.
The third and final method for approving students requires household applications to be returned by the students to the district. Applications can be returned though the school and/or directly to the approving officer(s). All applications must be reviewed, and households will be notified within 10 days.
Please read more about this topic in the United States Department of Agriculture’s Eligibility Manual for Schools Meals.
- Walter Beesley
Child Nutrition Services