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ACES Participation in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) of National School Lunch Program

August 1st, 2019


(North Haven, CT. August 1, 2019) The Area Cooperative Educational Services is participating in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) as part of the National School Lunch Program for school year 2019-2020. Under this provision, participating districts and schools provide free breakfast and lunch to all students at all times. All students enrolled at the following schools will receive meals through the School Breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program at no charge. Household income applications are no longer required to determine eligibility for free or reduced-price meals at schools participating in the CEP.

All students attending the following schools will be provided breakfast and lunch at no charge:
ACES Whitney Academy (formerly known as Whitney High School North, Whitney High School East/West), Village School, Mill Academy and Mill Elementary

For additional information, please contact:
Dee Colson, Determining Official Area Cooperative Educational Services
350 State Street, North Haven, CT 06473. 203-498-6800
dcolson@aces.org

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 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 is 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: http://www.asc r.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;
  3. Email: program.intake@usda.gov

Area Cooperative Educational Services (ACES) also announced today its policy for determining eligibility of children who may receive free or reduced-price meals served under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP), or free milk served under the Special Milk Program (SMP).

Local school officials have adopted the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Income Eligibility Guidelines (IEGs) for family size and income criteria for determining eligibility. The following income guidelines will be used in Connecticut from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020, for determining eligibility of participant’s free and reduced-price meals and free milk in the Child Nutrition Programs.

The income calculations above are based on the following formulas:

  • Monthly income is calculated by dividing the annual income by 12;
  • Twice monthly income is computed by dividing annual income by 24;
  • Income received every two weeks is calculated by dividing annual income by 26; and
  • Weekly income is computed by dividing annual income by 52.

All numbers are rounded upward to the next whole dollar.

Children from families whose income is at or below the levels shown are eligible for free or reduced-price meals or free milk. To apply for free or reduced-price meals or free milk, households should fill out the application and return it to the school. Applications will be sent home with the student packets and additional copies are available in the school office. Only one application is required per household and application free or reduced-price benefits cannot be approved unless it contains complete eligibility information as indicated on the application and instructions. The information provided on the application is confidential and will be used only for the purposes of determining eligibility and for administration and enforcement of the lunch, breakfast and milk programs. Additionally, all school-aged children in income-eligible households can receive school meal benefits regardless of a child’s immigration status, and the district/school does not release information for immigration-related purposes in the usual course of operating the CNPs. Note that the district may share your eligibility information with education, health, and nutrition programs to help them evaluate, fund, or determine benefits for their programs, auditors for program reviews, and law enforcement officials to help them look into violations of program rules. This information may also be verified at any time during the school year by school or other program officials. Applications may be submitted at any time during the year.

For up to 30 operating days into the new school year, eligibility from the previous year will continue within the same local educational agency (LEA). When the carry-over period ends, unless the household is notified that their children are directly certified or the household submits an application that is approved, the children must pay full price for school meals and the school will not send a reminder or a notice of expired eligibility.

No application is required if the district directly certifies a child based on a household member receiving assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or the Temporary Family Assistance (TFA) program. All children in these households are eligible for free meal benefits. Households receiving assistance under the SNAP/TFA programs will be notified of their eligibility and their children will be provided free benefits unless the household notifies the determining official that it chooses to decline benefits. If any children were not listed on the eligibility notice, the household should contact the district or school to have free meal benefits extended to those children. Households receiving SNAP or TFA benefits for their children should only submit an application if they are not notified of their eligibility by October 1, 2019.

Some children may be directly certified free or reduced-price meals based on Medicaid (HUSKY). No application is required if the district directly certifies a child based on Medicaid (HUSKY). All children in these households are eligible for free or reduced-priced meal benefits. Households receiving assistance under Medicaid (HUSKY) will be notified of their eligibility and their children will be provided free or reduced-price benefits accordingly, unless the household notifies the determining official that it chooses to decline benefits. If any children were not listed on the eligibility notice, the household should contact the district or school to have free or reduced-price meal benefits extended to those children.

If a child is not directly certified, the household should complete a free and reduced-price meal application form. The application for the SNAP or TFA households require the SNAP or TFA case number and the households may be asked to provide proof of the SNAP or TFA case number. The signature of an adult household member is also required.

Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Please send in an application or contact the determining official for more information.

When known to the district/school, households will be notified of any child’s eligibility for free meals if the individual child is Other Source Categorically Eligible because the child is categorized as either: Homeless; runaway as defined by law and determined by the district’s or school’s homeless liaison; or enrolled in an eligible Head Start or pre-kindergarten class as defined by law. Households with children who are categorically eligible under Other Source Categorically Eligible Programs should complete an application and check-off the relevant box. Questions should be directed to the determining official. For any child not listed on the eligibility notice, the households should contact the school or determining official about any child also eligible under one of these programs or should submit an income application for the other children.

Households notified of their children’s eligibility must contact the determining official or school if it chooses to decline the free meal benefits. If households/children are not notified by the district/school of their free meal benefits and they receive benefits under Assistance Programs or under Other Source Categorically Eligible Programs, the parent/guardian should contact the determining official or their school.

Foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court, are categorically eligible for free meals. A foster parent does not have to complete a free/reduced meal application if they can submit a copy of the legal document or legal court order showing that the child is a foster child. Additionally, a foster child may be included as a member of the foster family if the foster family chooses to also apply for benefits. If the foster family is not eligible for free or reduced-price meal benefits, it does not prevent a foster child from receiving free meal benefits. Note however, that a foster child’s free eligibility does not automatically extend to all students in the household.

Application forms for all other households require a statement of total household income, household size and names of all household members. The last four digits of the social security number of an adult household member must be included or a statement that the household member does not have one. The adult household member must also sign the application certifying that the information provided is correct.

Under the provisions of the policy for determining eligibility free and reduced-price meals, the Dee Colson, 203-498-6836, dcolson@aces.org will review applications and determine eligibility. If a parent is dissatisfied with the ruling of the determining official, he/she may wish to discuss the decision with the determining official on an informal basis. If he/she wishes to make a formal appeal, a request either orally or in writing, may be made to Thomas Danehy, ACES 350 State Street, North Haven, CT 06473, 203-498-6800 for a hearing to appeal the decision.

The policy contains an outline of the hearing procedure. Each school and the central office of the school district has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by an interested party.

If a household member becomes unemployed or if household size changes at any time, the family should contact the school to file a new application. Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for reduced-price meals, free meals, or free milk, if the family income falls at or below the levels shown in the Income Guidelines.

Questions regarding the application process may be directed to the determining official at 203-498-6836.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 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.

This document is available at https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/SDE/Nutrition/CEP/CEPPressRelease.doc. For more information on the CEP, visit the Connecticut State Department of Education's CEP website.

Connecticut State Department of Education • Revised May 2019

About ACES:

Area Cooperative Educational Service’s (ACES) is to transform lives through education, innovation, and leadership. One of six Connecticut regional educational service centers, ACES is the regional educational services center for the twenty-five communities in New Haven and is both a school district and a non-profit services agency. ACES serves 2,300 students from fifty-seven communities throughout Connecticut at its three magnet schools and nine special education schools. ACES service divisions include international educational programs and services, technology, transportation, translation, behavior services and autism programs, extension therapy services (occupational and physical therapy), assistive technology, collaborative programs, professional development, human resources and financial services, and ACCESS, a vocational and life skills program for developmentally and physically challenged adults. ACES also runs the Open Choice program for New Haven County as well as a magnet school parent choice program for its Wintergreen Interdistrict Magnet School and Thomas Edison Middle School. Additionally, ACES runs the Middlesex County Early Head Start Partnership program. For additional information, go to www.aces.org.

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