Meal applications will be sent to all households

The Kern County Superintendent of Schools office and all of Kern County’s 47 public school districts are announcing their policy for providing free and reduced-price meals for children served under the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program. Each school and/or the district/agency’s central office has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by any interested party upon request.
Meal applications will be sent to all households with a letter informing parents or guardians of the availability of free and reduced-price meals. To apply, complete one application for all children in the household and submit to the school for processing. Additional copies are available at the school office.  Households may submit an application at any time during the school year. Information provided on the application will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by school officials.
Children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals if their household income is less than or equal to the Income Eligibility Guidelines identified below, which will be used to determine eligibility for meal benefits.These guidelines are effective July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.
Households do not need to turn in an application when the household receives a notification letter saying that all children automatically qualify for free meals when any household member receives benefits from CalFresh, CalWORKs, or FDPIR. Children who meet the definition of foster, homeless, migrant, or runaway, and children enrolled in their school’s Head Start program are eligible for free meals. Contact school officials if any child in the household is not on the notification letter. The household must let school officials know if they do not want to receive free or reduced-price meals.
Applications will be sent to the household with a letter about the free and reduced-price meal program. Households that want to apply for meal benefits, must fill out one application for all children in the household and give it to the nutrition office at their school. For a simple and secure method to apply, use your school district’s online application if available. Contact your school district nutrition services department for help filling out the application. The school will let you know if your application is approved or denied for free or reduced-price meals. 
 Households may turn in an application at any time during the school year. If you are not eligible now, but your household income goes down, household size goes up, or a household member starts receiving CalFresh, CalWORKs, or FDPIR, you may turn in an application at that time. Information given on the application will be used to determine eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by school officials. The last four digits of the Social Security number from any adult household or checking that you do not have a Social Security number is required if you include income on the application.
Households that receive Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits, may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals by filling out an application.
Foster children are eligible for free meals and may be included as a household member if the foster family chooses to also apply for the non-foster children on the same application. Including foster children as a household member may help the non-foster children qualify for free or reduced-price meals. If the non-foster children are not eligible, this does not keep foster children from receiving free meals.
 Your child’s eligibility status from last school year will continue into the new school year for up to 30 school days or until the school processes your new application, or your child is otherwise certified for free or reduced-price meals. After the 30 school days, your child will have to pay full price for meals, unless the household receives a notification letter for free or reduced-price meals. School officials do not have to send reminder or expired eligibility notices.
 If you do not agree with the decision or results of verification, you may discuss it with school officials. You also have the right to a fair hearing, which may be requested by calling or writing the hearing official for your school district.