Jul 10, 2014

LAUSD Magnet Schools: Why the Meal Benefits Application is So Important

Importance of the Meal Benefits Application - chieffamilyofficer.com

Now that the new school year is just a month away {no kidding!}, LAUSD has sent out notices that the Meal Benefits Application is now open. Children from lower income families can qualify for free or reduced-cost meals at school, which helps them get the nutrition they need to be able to learn, and the application is intended to identify those children.

What you may not know:
The percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced cost meals can determine how much federal funding your school receives.
There is a federal law called Title I, which funds primary and secondary education for low-income students. A school qualifies as Title I if a certain percentage of students qualify for free or reduced cost meals.

At some schools in LAUSD, there are so few students who qualify for free or reduced cost meals that the meal application is mostly irrelevant. But for Title I schools, the meal application is vitally important since so much funding hinges on the number of students who qualify for benefits. The threshold to qualify as a Title I school has been adjusted in recent years, meaning some schools that previously qualified as Title I have not qualified in some recent years. At these schools especially, it is more important than ever for families to get their applications in so as to maximize the chances of restoring Title I funding to their school.

Even if you don't qualify for benefits, it helps your school if you complete the application because the administration is looking to capture all of those students who do qualify, and they'll only know that's happened if 100% of the applications are completed. Unfortunately, it used to be that there was a box you could check to state that you are not applying for benefits, but the online application doesn't seem to have that type of option.

If you do qualify for meal benefits, you must complete the application in order for your child to receive those benefits throughout the school year.

Image via FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Grant Cochrane.

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