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Some students eligible for free lunch

Graph indicating reduced fees.

Students from households whose income is at or below the levels shown are eligible for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. Student receiving TANF or Food Stamps benefits, or commodity assistance through the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations are eligible for free meal benefits.

Schools send a letter and an application to the households of all enrolled students. Cop-ies are also available at the office in each school. School officials use the information on the application only to decide if the students should receive free or reduced prince meals. The information may be released to other federal education programs and state health and education programs. Applications may be submitted at any time during the year.

Students from households receiving Food Stamps or TANF as of July are automatically free. Households who begin to receive Food Stamp or TANF assistance during the school year will receive a "Meal Benefit Notice" from the Department of Human Services. These households may sign that letter and submit it to the school for approval for free meals. If preferred, an application may be completed and submitted to the school. Applications submitted by households receiving Food Stamp or TANF must contain names of students, TANF or Food Stamp case numbers and the signature of an adult household member.

Applications submitted from households receiving FDPIR commodity assistance must contain the names of the students, an indication that commodity benefits are received and the signature of an adult household member.

Other households must list the names of all household members, the Social Security number of the adult who signs the application, the amount and source of income received by each household member and the signature of an adult household member. Households may be asked to send written proof of the information that they give.

In most cases, foster children are also eligible for meal benefits. Households with foster children that wish to apply for meals benefits should contact the school the student is enrolled in for instructions on how to complete the application.

The school official will review applications and determine eligibility. An application that is not complete cannot be approved. A new application must be completed each year.

If a household does not agree with the decision on the application, the decision may be discussed with the school official on an informal basis. To make a formal appeal, make a request, either orally or in writing, to the school district's hearing official for a hearing to appeal the decision.

Students having parents or guardians who become unemployed may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals during the period of unemployment provided that the loss of income causes the household income to be within the eligibility criteria. Such changes may affect the eligibility status of the student for free or reduced-price meals.

In accordance with federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call 800-795-3272 (voice) or 202-720-6382 (TTY).

The following school districts have announced their policy for free and reduced-price meals and/or free milk for students served under the Child Nutrition Programs:

Stutsman County: Jamestown, Medina, Pingree-Buchanan, Montpelier, Kensal and St. John's Academy.