(EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was published in the Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020 edition of The Telegram Page B2.)

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The Jackson City Schools have announced its 2020-2021 program year policy for free and reduced-price meals for students unable to pay the full price of meals served under the National School Lunch, School Breakfast Program, and After School Care Snack.  Each school office and the central office has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by any interested party.

The Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines will be used for determining eligibility.  Children from families whose annual income is at or below the Federal Guidelines are eligible for free and reduced price meals.

Application forms are being distributed to all homes in a letter to parents or guardians.  To apply for free and reduced-price benefits, households should fill out the application and return it to the school.  Additional copies are available at the principal’s office in each school.  A complete application is required.  Households which currently receive Special Nutrition Assistance Programs Benefits (SNAP, formally known as food stamps) or Ohio Works First (OWF) funds for a child must provide the child’s name, the SNAP or OWF case number and signature of an adult household member on the application.  Households which do not receive SNAP or OWF funds must provide the names of all household members, the Social Security Number of the adult signing the application or state “none” if the adult does not have a number, the amount and source of income received by each household member, (state the monthly income) and the signature of an adult household member.  If any of this information is missing, the school cannot process the application.

FREE HEALTH CARE:  Families with children eligible for school meals may be eligible for FREE health care coverage through Medicaid and/or Ohio’s Healthy Start & Healthy Families programs.  These programs include coverage for doctor visits, immunizations, physicals, prescriptions, dental, vision, mental health, substance abuse and more.  Please call 1-800-324-8680 for more information or to request an application.  Information can also be found on the web at http://jfs.ohio.gov/OHP/consumers/familychild.stm.  Anyone who has an Ohio Medicaid card is already receiving these services.

The information provided on the application is confidential and will be used only for the purpose of determining eligibility and may be verified at any time during the school year by school or other program official.  To discourage the possibility of misrepresentation, the application forms contain a statement above the space for signature certifying that all information furnished is true and correct.  Applications are being made in connection with the receipt of federal funds.  Schools or other officials may check the information on the application at any time during the school year.  Deliberate misrepresentation of information may subject the applicant to prosecution under applicable state and federal laws.  Households will be notified of the approval or denial of benefits.

Foster children are categorically eligible for free meal benefits regardless of the household’s income.  If a family has foster children living with them and wishes to apply for such meals, contact the school for more information.

Under the provision of the policy, the Assistant Superintendent, will oversee the review and determination of the applications eligibility.  If a parent or guardian disagrees with the decision of the application or the result of verification, the decision may be discussed with the determining official on an informal basis.  If a formal appeal is desired, the household has the right to a fair hearing.  A fair hearing can be requested either orally or in writing from Phil Howard, Superintendent, Jackson City Schools, 450 Vaughn Street, Jackson, Ohio, 45640, and Phone:  286-6442.  The policy contains an outline of the hearing procedure.

Households may apply for benefits any time during the school year.  If a household is not currently eligible and if the household size increases or income decreases because of unemployment or other reasons, the family should contact the school to file a new application.  Such changes may make the children of the family eligible for free or reduced-price benefits if the family income falls at or below the levels shown above.

Non-discrimination Statement:  This explains what to do if you believe you have been treated unfairly.  In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.  To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington DC  20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 or 202-720-6382 (TTY). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Please be advised that Jackson City Schools offers breakfast at all five of our locations.  If you are approved for free or reduced lunch you also qualify for free or reduced breakfast.  The prices and times are as follows:

Northview, Southview and Westview Elementary Schools: Serve breakfast from 8:05 to 8:30 a.m.; Elementary full pay student - $1.50; Elementary reduced pay student - .30.

Jackson Middle School: Serves breakfast from 7:30 to 8 a.m.; M.S. full pays student - $1.75; M.S. reduced pay student - .30.

Jackson High School: Serves breakfast from 7:30 to 8 a.m.; H.S. full pays student - $2.00; H.S. reduced pay student - .30.

Any student receiving free lunch would also qualify for free breakfast.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.