Free & Reduced Meal Application FAQs

The Greater Johnstown School District believes that sound nutrition is important for the healthy growth of our children’s minds and bodies.  Therefore, we provide a nutritious breakfast and lunch in our schools every day.

We invite all students to participate each day.  Students may buy lunch for $2.65 in the elementary schools and $2.85 in the secondary schools.  Breakfast at the elementary schools is $1.35. At Knox Jr. High School and JHS, the cost is $1.85.

We use a computer program called NutriKids in our cafeterias that allows student to prepay on their individual accounts at any time and it allows us to monitor student purchases.  Please consider paying for meals on a weekly or monthly basis. Money can be deposited on a students’ account at any time and/or on line at myschoolbucks.  If you have any questions, please call the Food Service office or your school secretary.

To apply for free or reduced price meals, complete an application as found on our Forms page, sign it and return it to your school secretary as soon as possible.  Please refer to the guidelines contained in this letter; we cannot approve an application that is not complete so be sure to fill out all required information.

  1. Do I need to fill out an application for each child?  No. Complete one application to apply for free or reduced price meals. Do not fill out more than one application for your household.
  2. Who can get free meals? Children in households receiving benefits from SNAP, TANF or FDPIR can get free meals regardless of your income.  Also, your children can get free meals if your household income is within the free limits on the Federal Income Guidelines.
  3. Can Foster children get free meals? Yes, foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court, are eligible for free meals.  Any foster child in the household is eligible for free meals regardless of income.  Foster children may also be included as a member of the foster family if the family chooses to apply for benefits for their other children. If the non-foster children in a foster family are not eligible for free or reduced price meal benefits, an eligible foster child will still receive free benefits.
  4. Can homeless, runaway and migrant children get free meals? Please call Mary Kline, Director of Migrant Education at 315-867-2079 to see if your child or children qualify if you have not been informed that they will get free meals.
  5. Who can get reduced price meals? Your children can get low cost meals if your household income is within the reduced price limits on the Federal Income Chart, shown on this application. Beginning July 1, 2019, students in New York State that are approved for reduced price meals will receive breakfast and lunch AT NO CHARGE.
  6. Should I fill out an application if I received a letter this school year saying my children were approved for free or reduced price meals? Please read the letter you received carefully and follow the instructions.  Call your child’s school or the food service office at 762-1875 if you have any questions.
  7. My child’s application was approved last year.  Do I need to fill out another one? Yes.  Your child’s application is only good for that school year and for up to 30 operating days of this school year.  You must send in a new application unless the school told you that your child is eligible for the new school year.
  8. I get WIC; can my child(ren) get free meals? Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for free or reduced price meals.  To determine if you qualify, please fill out an application.
  9. Will the information I give be checked?  The school may ask you to verify your eligibility at any time during the school year.  You will be notified, in writing, if you have been selected for verification. School officials may ask you to send documentation showing that your child is qualified for free or reduced meals.
  10. If I don’t qualify now, may I apply later? Yes. You may apply at any time during the school year if your household size goes up, income goes down, or if you start receiving SNAP, TANF or other benefits.  If you lose your job, your children may be able to get free or reduced price meals.
  11. What if I disagree with the school’s decision about my application? You should talk to school officials. You also may ask for a hearing by calling or writing to:  Dr. Patricia Kilburn, Superintendent of Schools, 1 Sir Bills Circle, Suite 101, Johnstown, NY  12095.  The phone number is (518) 762-4611, extension 3104.
  12. May I apply if someone in my household is not a US citizen?  Yes. You or your children do not have to be US citizens to qualify for free or reduced price meals.
  13. Who should I include as members of my household? You must include all people living in your household, related or not (such as grandparents, other relatives or friends). You must include yourself and all children who live with you.
  14. What if my income is not always the same? List the amount that you are normally paid and how often you are paid. (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly) Do not include overtime if you don’t work it all the time.
  15. We are in the Military. Do we include our housing allowance as income? If you get an off-base housing allowance, it must be included as income.  However, if your housing is part of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, do not include your housing allowance as income.
  16. My spouse is deployed to a combat zone. Is his/her combat pay counted as income? No, if the combat pay is received in addition to his/her basic pay because of deployment and it wasn’t received before deployment, combat pay is NOT counted as income.
  17. My family needs more help, are there other programs we might apply for? To find out how to apply for SNAP or other assistance benefits, contact your local assistance office or call 1-800-342-3009.

INCOME CHART

The following chart lists income levels according to household size and income levels received either yearly, monthly or weekly.  If your total household income is the same or less than the amounts on the Income Chart below, your children may be eligible to receive free or reduced price meals.

REDUCED PRICE ELIGIBILITY INCOME CHART

Total Family Size

Annual

Monthly

Twice per Month

Every Two Weeks

Weekly

1 $23,107 $1,926 $963 $889 $445
2 $31,284 $2,607 $1,304 $1,204 $602
3 $39,461 $3,289 $1,645 $1,518 $759
4 $47,638 $3,970 $1,985 $1,833 $917
5 $55,815 $44,652 $2,326 $2,147 $1,074
6 $63,992 $5,333 $2,667 $2,462 $1,231
7 $72,169 $56,015 $3,008 $2,776 $1,388
8 $80,346 $6,696 $3,348 $3,091 $1,546
*Each add’l person add $8,177 $682 $341 $315 $158

How to Apply:

To get free or reduced price meals for your children you may submit one application for your household and return it to the Food Service office or your child’s school.  If you now receive SNAP, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) for any children, or participate in the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), the application must include the children’s names, the household SNAP, TANF or FDPIR number and the signature of an adult household member.  All children with the same case number may be listed on the same application.  Separate applications are required for children with different case numbers.  If you do not list a SNAP, TANF or FDPIR number for all the children for whom you are applying, the application MUST include the names of everyone in the household, the amount of income for the household and how often they are paid. It must include the signature of an adult household member and that adult’s social security number, or the word “NONE” if the adult does not have a social security number.  An application that is not complete cannot be approved.

Reporting Changes:

The benefits that you are approved for at the time of application are effective for the entire school year and up to 30 operating days in the new school year.  You no longer need to report changes for an increase in income or decrease in household size, or if you no longer receive SNAP.

Income Exclusions: The value of any childcare provided or arranged, or any amount received as payment for such child care or reimbursement for costs incurred for such child care under the Child Care Development (Block Grant) Fund should not be considered as income for this program.

REDUCED PRICE ELIGIBLE STUDENTS:

Beginning July 1, 2019, students in New York State that are approved for reduced price meals will receive breakfast and lunch meals AT NO CHARGE.

Meal Service to Children with Disabilities:

Federal regulations require schools and institutions to serve meals at no extra charge to children with disabilities that may restrict their diets.  A student with a disability is defined in 7CFR Part 15b.3 of Federal regulations, as one who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activity.  Major life activities are defined to include functions such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.  You must request the special meals from the school and provide the school with medical statement from a State licensed healthcare professional.  If you believe your child needs substitutions because of a disability, please get in touch with us for further information, as there is specific information that the medical certification must contain.

Confidentiality:

The United States Department of Agriculture has approved the release of students names and eligibility status, without parent/guardian consent, to persons directly connected with the administration or enforcement of federal education programs such as Title I and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which are United States Department of Education programs used to determine areas such as the allocation of funds to schools, to evaluate socioeconomic status of the school’s attendance area, and assess educational progress.  Information may also be released to State health or State education programs administered by the State agency or local education agency, provided the State or local education agency administers the program, and Federal, State or local nutrition programs similar to the National School Lunch Program.  Additionally, all information contained in the free and reduced price application may be released to persons directly connected with the administration or enforcement of programs authorized under the National School Lunch Act (NSLA) or Child Nutrition Act (CNA); including the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, the Special Milk Program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, Summer Food Service Program and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Woman, Infants and Children (WIC); the Comptroller General of the United States for audit purposes, and Federal, State or Local law enforcement officials investigating alleged violation of the programs under the NSLA or CNA.

Reapplication:

You may apply for benefits any time during the school year.  Also, if you are not eligible now, but during the school year become unemployed, have a decrease in household income, or an increase in family size, you can call your child’s school for an application or download one from our website on our Forms Page and send it in with your child to school.

The disclosure of eligibility information not specifically authorized by the NSLA requires a written consent statement from the parent/guardian.

We urge you to submit the 2019/20 application as soon as possible. We will let you know when your application is approved or denied.

Nondiscrimination Statement:

This explains what to do if you believe you have been treated unfairly.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape American Sign Language, etc) should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits.  Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form.  To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992.  Submit your competed form or letter to USDA by:

  1. Mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC  20250-9410;
  2. Fax: (202) 690-7442; or
  3. email: program.intake@usda.gov.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Free & Reduced Price Meal Application Fact Sheet

When filling out the application form, please pay careful attention to these helpful hints.

Food Stamp/TANF/FDPIR number:

This must be the complete number supplied to you by the agency including all number and letters, for example, E 123456, or whatever the combination is used in your county.  Refer to a letter you received from your local Department of Social Services for your number or contact them for your number.  All children with the same case number may be listed on the same application.  Separate applications are required for children with different numbers.

Foster Child:

A child who is living with a family but who is under the legal care of the welfare agency or court is considered a foster child.  List the child’s “personal use” income.  This includes only those funds provided by the agency that are identified for the personal use of the child, such as personal spending allowances, money received by his/her family, or from a job.  Funds provided for housing, food and care, medical, and therapeutic needs are NOT considered income to the foster child. Write “0” if the child has no personal use income.

Household:

Is a group of related or non-related people who are living in one house.  They share income & expenses.

Adult Family Members:

All related and non-related who are 21 years of age and older living in your house.

Financially Independent:

A person is financially independent and a separate economic unit/household when his/her earnings & expenses are not shared by the family/household.

Gross Income:

Is money earned or received by each member of your household before deductions.  Examples of deductions are Federal tax, State tax and Social Security deductions.

Examples of gross income are:

  • Wages, salaries, tips, commissions, or income from self employment
  • Net farm income
  • Pensions, annuities, or other retirement income including Social Security retirement
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Welfare payments (does not include value of food stamps)
  • Public assistance payments
  • Adoption assistance
  • Strike benefits
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Survivor’s Benefits
  • Alimony or child support payments
  • Disability benefits, including worker’s compensation
  • Veteran’s subsistence benefits
  • Interest or dividend income
  • Cash withdrawn from savings, investments, trusts and other resources which would be available to pay for a child’s meals
  • Other cash income

If you have more than one job, you must list the income from all jobs.

If you receive income from more than one source (wage, alimony, child support, etc.) you must list the income from all sources.

Current Income:

Is your income at the present time before deductions.  Farmers, self-employed workers, migrant workers and other seasonal employees may use their income for the past 12 months.

Income Exclusions:

The value of any child care provided or arranged, or any amount received as payment for such childcare or reimbursement for costs incurred for such care under the Child Care Development (Block Grant) Fund should NOT be considered as income for this program.

If you have any questions or need help in filling out the application form, please contact Ruth Brown, Food Service Manager at (518) 762-1875.