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All Ballard County schools again participating in free meal program

For the fourth year, students at all Ballard County schools will be eligible to eat breakfast and lunch for free.

Morning and midday meals for all Ballard County Schools students again will be free in 2017-18, under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision, according to Ballard Food Service Director Amber Hayes.

Schools are eligible to participate the CEP if at least 40 percent of their students are eligible to receive free meals through direct certification the prior year. (Directly certified students include those receiving benefits under SNAP or KTAP, or are considered migrant, homeless or foster.)

This means that families will see a savings of up to $430 per year per student, based on full student prices for breakfast and lunch in the middle and high schools for each day of the school year.

The USDA’s formula for reimbursing the meals is complicated, but the Hayes said the bottom line is this: For the program to be successful and continue, students at BCMS/BMHS should try to eat breakfast every day, and every family needs to complete the Household Income Form that will be included in each student’s Code of Behavioral Expectations this year.

In addition to the fiscal savings, parents should be able to have a little more relaxed time in the mornings, too, she said. “We want every child to have time to eat breakfast,” she said. “As long as they’re here 10 or 15 minutes before the first bell, they’ll have that time. Parents will know that there’s a good breakfast waiting for them when they get to school.”

Every family is strongly encouraged to complete the Household Income Form that will be found in this year’s Code of Behavioral Expectations, whether they expect to qualify for free or reduced-price meals or not. “That form is equally important as the contact form that families complete to make sure the school can reach them in case of an emergency,” Hayes said. The information from that form also is used to calculate state and federal funding for numerous programs like SEEK, E-Rate and Title 1 – money that has a direct bearing on every child in the district.

The free-meal program extends only to students, and only for regular meals and drinks. Any a la carte or extra items will have to be paid through their existing lunch accounts. All adult breakfasts are $1; adult lunches are $2.50.

For more information on the program, please contact Hayes at 665-8400, ext. 2530, or email amber.hayes@ballard.kyschools.us.

Here is the USDA Nondiscrimination Statement:

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, 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 information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form (AD-3027), found online at 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 completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3) email: program.intake@usda.gov.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

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