Public announcement of the eligibility criteria.
(a) After the State agency, or FNSRO where applicable, notifies the School Food Authority that its criteria for determining the eligibility of children for free and reduced price meals and for free milk have been approved, the School Food Authority shall publicly announce such criteria: Provided however, That no such public announcement shall be required for boarding schools, schools as defined in Sec. 210.2 of this chapter, 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 Sec. 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;
(ii) How a household may make application for free or reduced price meals or for free milk for its children;
(iii) An explanation that an application for free or reduced price benefits cannot be approved unless it contains complete "documentation" as defined in Sec. 245.2(a-3);
(iv) An explanation that households with children who are members of currently certified food stamp, FDPIR or TANF households may submit applications for these children with the abbreviated information described in Sec. 245.2(a-3);
(v) An explanation that the information on the application may be verified at any time during the school year;
(vi) An explanation that households receiving free or reduced price benefits must notify school officials during the school year of any decreases in household size and any increases in income of over $50 per month or $600 per year (or a lesser amount if established by the State) or, in the case of households that provided a food stamp or TANF case number or a FDPIR case number or other identifier to establish eligibility for free meals or free milk for a child, of any termination of benefits for such children under the Food Stamp, FDPIR or TANF Programs.
(vii) How a household may apply for benefits at any time during the school year as circumstances change;
(viii) 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;
(ix) A statement to the effect that in certain cases foster children are eligible for free or reduced price meals or free milk regardless of the income of the household with whom they reside and that households wishing to apply for such benefits for foster children should contact the School Food Authority;
(x) 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;" and
(xi) How a household may appeal the decision of the School Food Authority with respect to the application under the hearing procedure set forth in Sec. 245.7. The letter or notice shall be accompanied by a copy of the application form required under Sec. 245.6.
(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.
(Sec. 803, Pub. L. 97-35, 95 Stat. 521-535 (42 U.S.C. 1758); Pub. L. 79-
396, 60 Stat. 231 (42 U.S.C. 1751); Pub. L. 89-642, 80 Stat. 885-880 (42 U.S.C. 1773); Pub. L. 91-248, 84 Stat. 207 (42 U.S.C. 1759))
[Amdt. 8, 40 FR 57207, Dec. 8, 1975, as amended by Amdt. 10, 41 FR 28783, July 13, 1976; 47 FR 31852, 31853, July 23, 1982; Amdt. 24, 48 FR 19355, Apr. 29, 1983; 49 FR 26034, June 26, 1984; 52 FR 19275, May 22, 1987; 64 FR 50744, Sept. 20, 1999; 64 FR 72472, Dec. 28, 1999]
Effective Date Note: At 64 FR 72472, Dec. 28, 1999, Sec. 245.5 was amended by revising the first sentence of paragraph (a)(1) introductory text; by removing the reference to "Sec. 245.2(a-4)" in paragraph (a)(1)(iii); and adding a reference to "Sec. 245.2(a-3) in its place; and by revising paragraphs (a)(1)(iv) and (a)(1)(vi), effective Jan. 27, 2000.