7 CFR 245.5 - Public announcement of the eligibility criteria.
(a) After the State agency, or FNSRO where applicable, notifies the local educational agency (as defined in § 245.2) that its criteria for determining the eligibility of children for free and reduced price meals and for free milk have been approved, the local educational agency (as defined in § 245.2) shall publicly announce such criteria: Provided however, that no such public announcement shall be required for boarding schools, residential child care institutions (see § 210.2 of this chapter, definition of Schools), or a school which includes food service fees in its tuition, where all attending children are provided the same meals or milk. Such announcements shall be made at the beginning of each school year or, if notice of approval is given thereafter, within 10 days after the notice is received. The public announcement of such criteria, as a minimum, shall include the following:
(1) Except as provided in § 245.6(b), a letter or notice and application distributed on or about the beginning of each school year, to the parents of all children in attendance at school. The letter or notice shall contain the following information:
(i) In schools participating in a meal service program, the eligibility criteria for reduced price benefits with an explanation that households with incomes less than or equal to the reduced price criteria would be eligible for either free or reduced price meals, or in schools participating in the free milk option, the eligibility criteria for free milk benefits;
(iii) An explanation that an application for free or reduced price benefits cannot be approved unless it contains complete information as described in paragraph (1)(i) of the definition of Documentation in § 245.2;
(iv) An explanation that households with children who are members of currently certified SNAP, FDPIR or TANF households may submit applications for these children with the abbreviated information described in paragraph (2)(ii) of the definition of Documentation in § 245.2;
(v) An explanation that the information on the application may be verified at any time during the school year;
(vi) How a household may apply for benefits at any time during the school year as circumstances change;
(vii) A statement to the effect that children having parents or guardians who become unemployed are eligible for free or reduced price meals or for free milk during the period of unemployment, Provided, that the loss of income causes the household income during the period of unemployment to be within the eligibility criteria;
(viii) The statement: “In the operation of child feeding programs, no child will be discriminated against because of race, sex, color, national origin, age or disability;”
(ix) An explanation that Head Start enrollees and foster, homeless, migrant, and runaway children, as defined in § 245.2, are categorically eligible for free meals and free milk and their families should contact the school for more information;
(x) How a household may appeal the decision of the local educational agencywith respect to the application under the hearing procedure set forth in § 245.7. The letter or notice shall be accompanied by a copy of the application form required under § 245.6.
(xi) A statement to the effect that the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) participants may be eligible for free or reduced price meals.
(2) On or about the beginning of each school year, a public release, containing the same information supplied to parents, and including both free and reduced price eligibility criteria shall be provided to the informational media, the local unemployment office, and to any major employers contemplating large layoffs in the area from which the school draws its attendance.
(b) Copies of the public release shall be made available upon request to any interested persons. Any subsequent changes in a school's eligibility criteria during the school year shall be publicly announced in the same manner as the original criteria were announced.