Each year school districts are required to verify a sample of free and reduced meal applications. This process is to be completed by December 15, 2003. Legislative audit verifies the completion of this process each year as part of the annual school district audit process.
Verifying officials can refer to the revised United States Department of Agriculture Eligibility Guidance for School Meals found on the Child Nutrition Unit (CNU), Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) website at http://cnn.k12.ar.us for details and instructions.
The verification process must be completed in accordance with child nutrition program regulations and a summary of verification results maintained for at least three years. The school district and/or school verification summary includes: (1) the selection methods used, (2) the total number of applications on file by October 31, (3) the percentage or number of applications verified, (4) documentation of any changes in eligibility and the reasons for the changes, and (5) all relevant correspondence between the household selected for verification and the school food authority (school/school district). All verified applications must be readily retrievable by school. Verification records must include all documents submitted by the household in an effort to confirm eligibility, reproductions of those documents, or annotations made by the determining official which indicate the type of document used, the income shown on the document and the date of the document.
The sample free and reduced price meal application included in the Renewal of Policy Statement for Free and Reduced Price Meals 2003-2004 School Year does not have a section on the application form to complete to record the action taken during the verification process. Remember to attach the completed Verification Tracker for School Use (see attachment) to each application selected for verification.
Compliance with these requirements will be monitored by the CNU, ADE as part of the federal administration review monitoring.