AUGUSTA – With the start of school fast approaching, the Maine Department of Education is releasing the criteria for students to qualify for free or reduced school meals and milk for the 2013-14 school year.
Students from families whose annual income is equal to or less than the federal income guidelines shown below will be eligible for free or reduced price meals or free milk for kindergarten students, or free milk at schools offering only a milk program.
The 2013-14 school year family size and income guidelines, based on information provided by the United States Department of Agriculture, are:
|School Year 2014||FREE MEALS OR FREE MILK Income||REDUCED PRICE MEALS Income|
|Family Size (include adults)||Yearly||Monthly||Yearly||Monthly|
|For each additional family member, add:|
Applications will be available to each Maine student on the first day of school as part of a letter from the school describing the nutrition programs offered by that school. Any information provided on the application back to schools is completely confidential.
A household application must include the names of all adult household members, their total monthly income by source and the signature of an adult. The last four digits of the social security number of the signing adult must also be given. A family or a child receiving Food Stamps or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) should list only the name of the child and the case number, and sign the application without completing the income portion of the application.
In certain cases, foster children are eligible for free meals or free milk. For assistance in completing the application for a foster child, the foster parent should contact the child’s school.
All applications are subject to selection for verification. Applications may be completed and sent to a child’s school at any time during the school year.
Parents filing an application with the school will be notified of the outcome of their application for eligibility. If a family is dissatisfied with the decision of the school official, the parent may make a request – either orally or in writing – to the superintendent of schools or administrator of the private school for a hearing to appeal the decision. Each school has copies of the written hearing procedure that may be reviewed by any interested party. Federal and state rules prevent discrimination because of a child’s race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.
Anyone who believes that they have been discriminated against should contact Maine DOE Commissioner Stephen Bowen or write to the Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. 20250.
For more information about Maine’s free and reduced lunch or milk program, visit www.maine.gov/doe/ and select “Nutrition” in the A-Z index or contact Maine DOE Food Service Specialist Walter Beesley at 207-624-6875 or firstname.lastname@example.org.