Austin ISD will continue providing free and reduced-price meals for children served under the current Texas Department of Agriculture income eligibility guidelines.
Starting August 20, Austin ISD will begin distributing letters to the households of children in the district about eligibility benefits and any actions households need to take to apply for these benefits. Applications also are available from Austin ISD Nutrition and Food Services located at 3701 Woodbury Drive, or at every school office.
Completing a meal benefits application is about more than just meals. The information collected on these forms helps determine the funding needs at each school and throughout Austin ISD. Just by completing a meal benefits application, families can help ensure schools receive more of the funds needed to support students.
The following criteria will be used to determine a child's eligibility for free or reduced-price meal benefits:
1. Household income that is at or below the income eligibility levels.
Categorical or Automatic Eligibility
2. Household receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.
3. Child's status as a foster child, homeless, runaway, migrant, or displaced by a declared disaster,
4. Child's enrollment in Head Start or Even Start.
For those households that qualify for free or reduced-price meals based on income, an adult in the household must complete a free and reduced-price meal benefits application. A new meal benefits application must be submitted each school year. Families may complete applications electronically at www.SchoolCafe.com. Paper applications are also available in every school office. Paper applications will be returned to the school, who will submit to AISD Nutrition and Food Services for processing. Those individuals filling out the application will need to provide the following information:
1. Names of all household members,
2. Amount, frequency, and source of current income for each household member,
3. Last four digits of the Social Security number of the adult household member who signs the application or, if the adult does not have a social security number, check the box for "No Social Security number," and
4. Signature of an adult household member attesting that the information provided is correct.
Categorical or Program Eligibility:
Austin ISD is working with local agencies to identify all children who are categorically and program eligible. These children receive free meal benefits through other state-funded programs such as Head Start, or are identified as homeless, migrant or are a foster child. Austin ISD will notify the households of homeless, migrant and foster children, as well as those directly certified through the SNAP, TANF, and Medicaid, that they do not need to complete a meal application. Any household that does not receive a letter and feels it should have can contact Austin ISD Nutrition and Food Services at 512-414-0251.
Any household that wishes to decline benefits should also contact Austin ISD Nutrition and Food Services.
While applications may be submitted anytime during the school year, the last day for students to eat off prior year's status is October 1, 2019. The information households provide on the application will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility.
All students enrolled in a state-funded Pre-K program with Austin ISD receive free breakfast and lunch without completing a meal application because they are categorically eligible.
Under the provisions of the free and reduced-price meal policy, Austin ISD Nutrition and Food Services will review applications and determine eligibility. Households or guardians dissatisfied with the Reviewing Official's eligibility determination may wish to discuss the decision with the Reviewing Official on an informal basis. Households wishing to make a formal appeal for a hearing on the decision may make a request either orally or in writing to Anneliese Tanner, Executive Director of Austin ISD Food Services and Warehouse Operations at 512-414-0251.
If a household member becomes unemployed or if the household size increases, the household should contact the school. Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for benefits if the household's income falls at or below the current income eligibility guidelines.
Community Eligibility Provision:
Students at campuses participating in the CEP will receive free meals without completing a meal benefits application. Families at these campuses may be required to complete an income verification form to help maintain campus demographic information used for various funding sources and programs. For families that have children that are attending another Austin ISD campus that is not participating in CEP, a meal benefits application will still be required to receive free or reduced-price meals at that location.
The policy for free and reduced-price meals is available upon request from Austin ISD Nutrition and Food Services at 512-414-0251.