Use the prototype forms and letters enclosed on the attachments tab to avoid many of these errors.
- Inappropriate outdated application forms: All SFAs should use New York State’s current English or Spanish application. For school year 2020-2021, the applications can be found on the Attachments tab . If applications are made available on the school website, be sure to update with the new applications and parent letters each year.
- Inappropriate headings: The free/reduced price application must include the proper heading which indicates its purpose. It cannot be labeled as a “reduced fee” application for alternate purposes if it establishes eligibility for free/reduced price meals.
- Parent letter not included or wrong income scale used: Parents must receive together, the Free and Reduced Price Meal application and the required parent letter (Attachment VII) that includes only the reduced price income eligibility scale. Parent letters incorrectly containing both income eligibility scales (excluding Special Milk, which requires only the free income eligibility scale), only the free income eligibility scale, or no income eligibility scale jeopardize free and reduced reimbursement to your SFA.
- Public announcement errors: Many schools fail to send the public announcement each year to the informational media (local newspaper), the local unemployment office, and any major employers contemplating large layoffs in the area. The required income eligibility scales are included in the prototype public announcement (Attachment II). Please note that this public announcement may not be published on the school’s website.
- School website issues: Applications on the school website are not kept current each year. Be sure the website is updated with the current application and the current parent letter. The public announcement which includes both the free and reduced price income eligibility scales may never be posted on the website or in the news feed.
It is essential that you understand there will be no exceptions to these policies. SFAs that are not in compliance could find their applications for free and reduced price meals disallowed and may incur additional printing, dissemination and approval costs to bring their programs into compliance.
Ensure everyone connected with the application process for free and reduced price meals is fully aware to ensure compliance with all required policies.