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Hays CISD transitions back to applications for free, reduced-price meals

Staff Report

HAYS COUNTY – Hays CISD is returning to charging for school meals and offering free and reduced-price meals based on student eligibility. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress authorized spending that allowed schools to serve free meals for all students. However, those funds are not permitted to continue for the 2022-2023 school year. 

Hays CISD will begin distributing letters and applications to the households of the children in the district about eligibility benefits. Families are encouraged to complete the Application for Free and Reduced Price School Meals, also available at www.schoolcafe.com and return the completed form online or to any school office. 

The application will determine a child’s eligibility for free and reduced-price meals and may assist in the determination of eligibility for other state or federal benefits. Only one application needs to be completed per household. Schools will notify the household of the child’s eligibility. 

The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) administers school nutrition programs in Texas and offers an eligibility calculator at www.SquareMeals.org/ProgramEligibility

Decisions regarding payment for school meals are made at the national government level, not by the school nutrition team or TDA. 

The following criteria will be used to determine a child’s eligibility for free or reduced-price meal benefits.

1. Income Eligibility

• Household income that is at or below the income eligibility levels

2.  Categorical or Automatic Eligibility

• Households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)

3. Program Participant Eligibility

• Child’s status as a foster child, homeless, runaway, migrant, or displaced by a declared disaster

• Child’s enrollment in Head Start or Even Start

For those households that qualify for free or reduced-price meals based on income, an adult in the household must fill out a free and reduced-price meal application and return it to the Hays CISD Child Nutrition Office located at 5750 Dacy Lane, Buda, TX 78610.

Applications may be submitted anytime during the school year. The information households provide on the application will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility. Applications may also be verified by the school officials at any time during the school year.

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