Hesperia Unified School District last week announced its policy for providing free and reduced-price meals for children served under the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program. Each school and/or the central office has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by any interested party.
The household size and income criteria identified within the policy is used to determine eligibility for free, reduced-price, or full-price meal benefits. Children from households whose income is at or below the levels shown are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Children who receive Food Stamp (FS), California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs), Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payments (Kin-GAP) or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) benefits are automatically eligible for free meals regardless of the income of the household in which they reside.
Eligibility for a foster child is based on a separate application and solely on the amount of the child's “personal use” income.
Households must complete an application every school year unless they are notified of direct certification. To apply for free or reduced-price meal benefits, the Hesperia Unified School District offers paper applications located at the Nutrition Services Office at 11176 G Ave., at each child’s school or site kitchen in addition to on-line at www.hesperia.org. Those who fill out a paper application should return it to the Nutrition Services Office or to the child’s school site kitchen for processing.
Applications may be submitted at any time during the school year. The information households provide on the application will be used to determine meal eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by school or program officials.
Requirements for school officials to determine eligibility for free and reduced-price benefits are as follows:
• For households receiving CalFresh, CalWORKs, Kin-GAP, or FDPIR benefits, applications need only include the enrolled child(ren)’s name, CalFresh, CalWORKs, Kin-GAP, or FDPIR case number, and the signature of an adult household member.
• For households who do not list a CalFresh, CalWORKs, Kin-GAP or FDPIR case number, the application must include the names of all household members, the amount and source of the income received by each household member and the signature and corresponding last four digits of their Social Security number of an adult household member. If the household member who signs the application does not have a Social Security number, the household member must indicate on the application that a Social Security number is not available.
Under the provisions of the free and reduced-price meal policy, the determining official(s), as designated by the sponsor/agency, shall review applications and determine eligibility. Parents or guardians dissatisfied with the eligibility ruling may discuss the decision with the determining official on an informal basis.  Parents may also make a formal request for an appeal hearing of the decision and may do so orally or in writing with the sponsor/agency’s hearing official.  Parents or guardians should contact their child(ren)’s school(s) for specific information regarding the name of the determining official and/or hearing official for a specific school, agency or district.
If a household member becomes unemployed or if the household size increases, the household should contact the Nutrition Services. Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for benefits if the household’s income falls at or below the levels shown above.
Households that receive CalFresh, CalWORKs, Kin-GAP or FDPIR benefits may not have to complete an application for free or reduced-price meals or free milk. School officials will determine eligibility for free meals based on documentation obtained directly from the CalFresh, CalWORKs, Kin-GAP, or FDPIR office that a child is a member of a household currently receiving CalFresh or FDPIR benefits or an assistance unit receiving CalWORKs or Kin-GAP benefits. School officials will notify households of their eligibility, but those who do not want their child(ren) to receive free meals must contact the Nutrition Services Office. CalFresh, CalWORKs, Kin-GAP and FDPIR households should complete an application if they are not notified of their eligibility by Sept. 22.
Further inquiries can be directed to Jason Hill, assistant director of nutrition services for the Hesperia Unified School District at 760-948-1051.