Trinity County Office of Education
Sarah Supahan – County Superintendent of Schools
www.tcoek12.org • (530) 623-2861
Why are Free and Reduced-Price Lunch Applications Important?
There are two reasons why completing these applications for your child/ren’s school is important. One reason is the more obvious one: your child/ren may qualify for breakfast as well as lunch free of charge, or you may only have to pay a reduced amount. Meals at school can insure that all students get nutritious food each day. Research indicates that kids who eat regular, healthy meals will do better in school than those who do not. Also, we all know how hard mornings can be getting kids ready for school. Being able to take “pack a lunch” off the list in the morning can be convenient. You may be surprised to learn that the majority of students at every school in our county is eligible to receive either a free or a reduced-price lunch.
In addition, another important reason to complete the forms is that many sources of income available to schools are based on the total free and reduced lunch count. By filling out the form you will be assisting in securing money needed to run the school. Your child may also receive other school benefits. The number of qualifying applications that are returned can affect how much funding the school receives to help students meet academic success, including the use of materials and equipment like books and electronic tablets.
Please note that these Free and Reduced-Price Meal Applications are, by law, strictly confidential. Your personal information can only be used to determine your child’s eligibility for the school meal program. Education Code 49558 reads in part:
- All applications and records concerning any individual made or kept by any [school] … relating to free and reduced-price meal eligibility shall be confidential, and may not be open to examination for any purpose not directly connected with the administration of any free or reduced-price meal program, or any investigation, prosecution, or criminal or civil proceeding conducted in connection with the administration of any free or reduced-price meal program.
- … a public officer or agency may allow school district employees, who are authorized by the governing board of the school district, to disclose…only the pupil’s name and school meal eligibility status, solely for purposes of disaggregation of academic achievement … if the public agency ensures the following:
- The public agency has adopted a policy that allows for the use of individual records for these purposes.
- No individual indicators of participation in any free or reduced-price meal program are maintained in the permanent record of any pupil, unless otherwise allowed by law.
- No public release of information regarding individual pupil participation in any free or reduced-price meal program is permitted.
- All other confidentiality provisions required by law are met.
- The information collected regarding… pupils certified to participate in the free or reduced-price meal program is destroyed when it is no longer needed for its intended purpose.
Please take a few minutes to fill out this important form at your school. It can be updated whenever your income changes.