Free & Reduced Meals
The National School Lunch and Breakfast programs provide the opportunity for households to apply for free or reduced-price meals for their children.
NEW APPLICANT: Applications are processed as quickly as possible, but if you are new please write "New" at the top of your application so we can process it immediately. Please indicate whether a new student has siblings in Clay County schools who were approved for free or reduced price meals last school year. Other new students will be "full -pay" status until an application is approved. Please be prepared to pay for meals until approval.
RETURNING STUDENTS will have a "grace period" while current-year applications are being processed. During the grace period, meals will continue at the student's payment status at the end of last school year until the current year application is processed.
For the 2012-2013 school year, if a new application has not been received in the School Nutrition Office by the end of September, any benefits extended through the grace period will be terminated and the student will be automatically changed to "full-pay" status, requiring payment for meals.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. What are the income guidelines for the free & reduced-price program? The National School Lunch and Breakfast programs use USDA Income Eligibility Guidelines, which are adjusted annually for inflation. School Nutrition Services is required to exactly follow these Federal guidelines for approving or denying applications. If your household income (including wages, social security, pension, unemployment, welfare, child support, alimony, and any other cash income), before taxes or anything else is taken out, is at or below the amounts listed below, or if you currently receive food stamps or TANF/WFFA benefits for your child, you may be eligible.
2. How do I apply for free/reduced meal benefits for my children? An application is sent home with every student at the beginning of school. You may also get one from the school or the School Nutrition Office at any time. A new application must be submitted each school year to continue free or reduced-price meals. Complete only one application per household, following all instructions, and return it promptly. If you have any questions regarding the Free and Reduced-Price Meal Program, please contact the School Nutrition Director at 828-389-6332.
3. Who will see the information on my application? All applications are collected and processed in the School Nutrition Administrative Office, and are kept secure there. For the greatest confidentiality, please mail your application to the School Nutrition Office at PO Box 178, Hayesville, NC 28904 . Or you may put the completed application in a sealed envelope with "School Nutrition" clearly written on the outside, and send it with your child to school. If it is not secure in an envelope, it may be seen by others before it reaches the Nutrition Office.
4. How will I know if my application has been approved? You will receive a Letter of Notification indicating whether free or reduced-price eligibility has been approved.
5. What if I disagree with the decision of eligibility or denial of eligibility? If your application is denied, a reason will be stated in the letter. If you feel a mistake has been made, please call the School Nutrition Office immediately. If the disagreement is not resolved, you have a right to a fair hearing. Clay County Schools Fair Hearing Officer is Scott Penland, Superintendent, who may be contacted at 838-389-6332.
6. If my application has been denied, can I apply again? Yes. You may apply at any time during the school year. However, if your application has been denied and you apply again during the same school year, you will be required to submit income documentation or proof of FNS or TANF benefits at the time of your reapplication.
8. Will my child be treated any differently if he receives free meals? No. Every student has an account in the cafeteria computer system. Every student must state his/her account number to the cashier. Any student may or may not have a balance in his/her account. Free students often carry a balance for an occasional extra food items. We encourage paying students to pay in advance so cash exchanged on the line is kept to a minimum. No one should know the payment status except the student and the cashier.
Privacy Act Statement: This explains how we will use the information you give us.
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