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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 1 WELCOME TO THE NEW DIRECTOR’S TRAINING.

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Presentation on theme: "Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 1 WELCOME TO THE NEW DIRECTOR’S TRAINING."— Presentation transcript:

1 Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 1 WELCOME TO THE NEW DIRECTOR’S TRAINING

2 National School Lunch Program Requirements For Public And Private Schools New Director’s Training Cynthia Sarapas August 13, 2013

3 Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 3 TOPICS  Meal Benefit and Issuance Process  Direct Certification  Homeless Liaison

4 Meal Benefit & Issuance Process Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 4

5 Free & Reduced Price Policy Statement  Update as part of the annual renewal application  Identify the determining, confirming, and hearing officials  Hearing official must not be connected to the approval or verification process Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 5

6 Prior Year Eligibility Carry Over  LEAs must carryover all student's approved eligibility from the last operating day of the previous school year  Approval may be used for up to 30 operating days from the first day of school  Applies to direct certification, categorical eligibility determinations and income based applications  New eligibility determination will supersede the carryover eligibility once it is obtained from the household Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 6

7 Carry over approval is valid… A.Until October 1 B.For 30 operating days from beginning of school C.For 30 calendar days from beginning of school Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 7

8 Direct Certification  Process Direct Certification via the Virtual Gateway  Access must be done a minimum of 3 times per school year:  Start of school: do weekly at start of school (recommended)  3 months after school starts  6 months after schools starts  Direct certification supersedes any application a household submits: eligibility remains free for school year if exact match with the Virtual Gateway process. Partial Match requires further checking using student identification numbers. Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 8

9 Extending Categorical Eligibility to Additional Children In A Household  Extended eligibility means that all children in the household are categorically eligible for free meals if any child in the household is directly certified  Household is defined as a group of related or unrelated individuals living together as an economic unit Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 9

10 Direct Certification Notification  All households that have children who are identified as eligible for benefits via direct certification must receive a letter notifying them of the meal benefit to be provided  Refer to the eligibility manual for the list of items that must be included in the notification letter  Prototype letter posted on ESE website and the security portal Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 10

11 When must a letter be sent to notify a household that the children residing there have qualified for meal benefits via direct certification? A.If you don’t see a family member on the playground B.If the student says he forgot to tell his family C.When a student is identified as Directly Certified Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 11

12 If there are three siblings in a household and only two of the children have been directly certified is the third child automatically eligible? A.Yes B.No C.Depends on the child’s age Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 12

13 Homeless Liaison  Contact district homeless liaison to receive list of all homeless and runaway students within the district  Establish an ongoing working relationship  Be notified whenever a student is identified  Find your district’s Homeless Liaison at Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 13

14 Foster Children  Foster children are categorically eligible for free meals, no application is needed  Foster children must be in the care and placement of the State or placed by a court  LEA must obtain documentation from an appropriate State or local agency indicating the status of the child as a foster child  We strongly encourage school food authorities and other child nutrition institutions to establish formal mechanisms with State and local foster agencies to receive information directly from these agencies to facilitate certification for free meals for foster children Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 14

15 Meal Benefit Packet  Download forms, letters, and instructions from the ESE website or the Document Library  Use the current Massachusetts meal benefit form  Meal benefit forms are available in other languages on USDA’s website  Households cannot be required to complete and return the application Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 15

16 Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 16 MASSACHUSETTS FREE AND REDUCED PRICE SCHOOL MEALS HOUSEHOLD APPLICATION ( One application per household)

17 Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 17 Direct Certification: No application needed Extended eligibility: means that all children in the household are categorically eligible for free meals if any child in the household is directly certified

18 List the names of all household members Indicate name of school for each child CHECK IF A FOSTER CHILD: Foster children are categorically eligible for free status: no application needed. May include them in household size. Check if no income Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 18

19 Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 19 Part 2: If an LEA receives an application listing a SNAP or TAFDC agency ID number for any member of the household, then all children in the household are categorically eligible for free meals Agency ID Number:7-9 digits (NOT: ) Part 3: Homeless, migrant, or runaway

20 20 Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education  List household members with income in this section only  You must tell how much and check box how often (ie:weekly, monthly, every other week, etc.)

21 21 Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education An adult household member must sign the application If part 4 is completed, the adult signing the form must list last 4 digits of their social security number or mark “I do not have a social security number”

22  Part 6: Optional  This Is For School Use Only section: The LEA fills in this section completely. LEA must use the annual income conversion figures if an application is listing income from more than one frequency (i.e.: weekly and monthly). Please note dual eligibility for foster children vs. non-foster children in same household. Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 22

23 Annual Income Conversion Example On the application if the father in the household listed his income to be $ weekly and the mother in the household listed her income to be $ every 2 weeks: This income must be converted to yearly for both father and mother Calculation of yearly income for household: $ X 52 = $26, per year $ X 26 = $10, per year $36, per year for household Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 23

24 Annual Income Conversion Example Continued Clarification of frequency terms:  Bi-weekly means pay period is every other week or every two weeks with the conversion factor X 26  Twice A Month: pay period is twice each month and the conversion factor X 24 Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 24

25 Meal Benefit Form School Use Only Section Continued  Record total income, household size, eligibility, etc.  All applications must be determined and implemented within 10 working days of receipt of application by the determining official  All applications must be edit checked, signed, and dated by the determining and confirming official Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 25

26  The current reduced income guidelines must be on the application yearly as well as the Use of Information and Non-discrimination Statement 26

27 Tips for Application Success  Send home the complete application  Add a cover page highlighting key areas  Work with Administration  Open House or Family night  Train staff who will be processing applications Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 27

28 More Application Tips  Remember to include a phone number that allows parent/guardian to call the school regarding application issues at no charge to themselves  If district does not have a toll free number the application letter must state that the parent/guardian may call collect  Only the reduced price income guidelines go on the application Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 28

29 Complete Applications  Check that applications are complete  Only complete applications may be processed  If an application is not complete, contact the household: initial, date, who spoke to, record information missing on application  Refer to eligibility manual for complete instructions on determining if a submitted application is complete: August 2012 is most current. Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 29

30 Determining & Confirming Applications  All application determinations must be made within 10 working days of receipt of application by the determining official  All applications that are approved or denied must be confirmed by the confirming official  The confirming official must edit check all determinations – do not just sign the applications  POS system may be either the determining or confirming – not both; data entry must be edit checked for accuracy Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 30

31 Hardship Circumstances  Hardship circumstances vs. eligibility determination: if a household does not qualify for free or reduced benefits determined from a meal benefit application the district may choose to allow the student to eat at no cost  HOWEVER, the district must absorb the cost of the school meals served to these students. The school lunch program funds can not be used to pay this expense. These meals must be claimed at the paid rate on the claim for reimbursement Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 31

32 School Lunch Charges  Debt incurred when a student is allowed to charge a school meal must be paid by the student  Funds from the non-profit school food service account can not be used to cover the cost of charged meals that have not been paid  All school lunch programs must have a written school lunch charge policy in place Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 32

33 After the determining official finishes with an application what happens next? A.Confirming official signs and dates application B.Confirming official signs, dates, and edit checks application C.Confirming official edit checks, signs, and dates application Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 33

34 If an application is denied due to over income can school officials change the eligibility determination due to hardship? A.Yes B.No C.It Depends Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 34

35 Notification of Eligibility Determination  All households must be notified of their eligibility status  Households with children that are denied benefits must be given written notification that includes the reason for denial, right to appeal, instructions on how to appeal, and a statement informing that they may re-apply at any time during the school year  Households with children who are approved for benefits may be notified with a letter or Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 35

36 Elimination of Temporary Approval / Zero Income  Temporary approval of an application is no longer applicable because of the year long duration of eligibility provision.  If LEA/ schools are concerned with the authenticity of the information provided on an application, they may, on a case by case basis verify the application for cause. (Refer to pg. 22 of the Eligibility Manual For School Meals August 2012) Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 36

37 Benefit Eligibility Issuance List  A list of all children eligible for free, reduced, or paid meals must be compiled by school site  Each school must have a copy of their list  The LEA must ensure that any changes and transfers in and out of the school are accurately and promptly reflected on each school's list  Best practice – coded list at each point of service meal counting area – with no overt identification Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 37

38 Why is it best practice to have a benefit issuance list at each meal counting point of service? A.So we can print t-shirts with F, R, and P’s on them B.In case the point of sale system or cash register malfunctions C.We don’t need a list, the children yell out their eligibility when they come through the line Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 38

39 Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 39 Time to play “Who Wants A Meal Benefit”

40 Important Web Sites Information for this presentation was taken from The Eligibility Manual for School Meals and Meal Counting and Claiming Manual Published by: Child Nutrition Programs, Food and Nutrition Services United States Department of Agriculture Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 40

41 Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education 41 THANK YOU GOODLUCK!!!


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