Litchfield Elementary School District #79, which has schools in Avondale, Buckeye, Goodyear and Litchfield Park, will participate in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program for the 2020-21 academic year, the district announced in a release.
As part of the program, Barbara Robey Elementary School, Belen Soto Elementary School, Corte Sierra Elementary School, Dreaming Summit Elementary School, L. Thomas Heck Middle School, Litchfield Elementary School, Mabel Padgett Elementary School, Palm Valley Elementary School, Rancho Santa Fe Elementary School, Scott L. Libby Elementary School, Verrado Elementary School, Verrado Middle School, Verrado Heritage Elementary School, Western Sky Middle School, Wigwam Creek Middle School and White Tanks Learning Center will offer healthy meals every school day.
Cost per meal will be $1.50 per meal for breakfast and $2.75 per meal for lunch. Reduced-price breakfasts will be 30 cents and reduced-price lunches will be 40 cents, the release stated.
Qualifications for children to receive free or reduced-price meals include belonging to a household whose income is at or below federal Income Eligibility Guidelines, belonging to a household that receives public assistance, or if the child is homeless, migrant, runaway, foster or participates in a Head Start or Even Start pre-Kindergarten program, the release stated.
Household size and income criteria determine eligibility for free and reduced-price benefits if the household does not receive assistance or the children are not in the other categories mentioned, the release stated. Children can receive free or reduced-price meals if the household’s gross income falls at or below the limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guideline chart.
Yearly, monthly and weekly incomes must fall below the following for household sizes 1 through 8 as noted below:
1: $23,606, $1,968, $454.
2: $31,894, $2,658, $614.
3: $40,182, $3,349, $773.
4: $48,470, $4,040, $933.
5: $56,758, $4,730, $1,092.
6: $65,046; $5,421; $1,251.
7: $73,334, $6,112, $1,411.
8: $81,622, $6,802, $1,570.
For each additional person, families should add $8,288 yearly, $691 monthly and $160 weekly.
To apply for free or reduced-price meals, households can fill out an application and return it to the school unless the household has already received notification that their children are approved for free meals this year, the release stated. Application forms are being distributed to all households with a letter informing households of the availability of free and reduced-price meals for their children and what is required to complete on the application. Applications are available at school offices and cafeterias, LESD’s district office registration desk, and on the TITAN School Solutions Family Portal at https://family.titank12.com.
Only one application is required for all children in the household, and the information provided on the application will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility and verification of data, the release stated. Applications may be verified at any time during the school year by the school or other program officials. An application for free or reduced-price benefits cannot be approved unless it contains complete eligibility information as indicated on the application and instructions. In the operation of child feeding programs, no child will be discriminated against because of race, sex, color, national origin, age or disability, the release stated.
Families can apply for benefits at any time during the school year. If a household member becomes unemployed or if the household size increases, parents or guardians should contact their children’s school office or cafeteria, or call LESD’s Food Services Department at (623) 535-6060 to request an application.
Under the free and reduced-price policy, the Food Services Revenue Clerk reviews applications and determines eligibility, and parents or guardians dissatisfied with the ruling of the official may discuss the decision with the determining official on an informal basis, They also may make a formal appeal for a hearing on the decision by calling Gina DeCoste, executive director of Programs and Instruction at 623-535-6015, by submitting the request in writing to her at 272 E. Sagebrush St., Litchfield Park, AZ 85340 or by emailing it to her at email@example.com.
When known to LESD, households will be notified of their children’s eligibility for free meals if they are members of households receiving assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), if the state program meets federal standards, the release stated.
An application is not required for free meal benefits for assistance program participants and all of the children in the household are eligible for free meal benefits, the release stated. If any children were not listed on the notice of eligibility, or if a household does not receive a notice of eligibility, the household should contact the school to have free meal benefits extended to them. Participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals, but they will need to turn in an application including household size and total income.
Households also will be notified of any child’s eligibility for free meals if the district knows the individual child is considered “Other Source Categorically Eligible,” because the child is categorized, as defined by law as foster, homeless, migrant, runaway, enrolled in an eligible Head Start or or enrolled in an eligible pre-kindergarten class. If any children were not listed on the notice of eligibility, the household should contact the school about their eligibility through the list above, or should submit an income application, the release states.
Households notified of their children’s eligibility must contact the school if the household chooses to decline the free meal benefits. For more information, call LESD Food Services at 623-535-6060 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.