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2015-2016 school year Free and Reduced Forms

To limit A la Carte purchases fill out and return this form to your school 2015-16 No A la Carte

Students from families whose income is below designated levels and foster children are eligible for free meals or meals at a reduced rate. The Lunch Cashier System allows the Lawrence Public Schools’ food service department to manage the application process and establish student accounts accordingly in compliance with federal regulations.

To determine if a family qualifies, the family must complete an application. One application per family is necessary and may be completed any time during the year. If a family participated in this program in the past, a new application must be completed each year.
Parents/guardians are responsible for ALL CHARGES until the application has been APPROVED by the food services office.
Children eligible for free or reduced-price Child Nutrition Program meal benefits may also qualify for optional benefits.
The application may be downloaded from our Web site at the top of this page.
Applications will be available at the office of each school at enrollment time or by contacting the food services office at 110 McDonald Drive, Lawrence, KS 66044-1063 or by phoning 832-5000.The application information is kept confidential.
Free and Reduced FAQs
1. Do I need to complete an application for each child?
No. Complete one application for all students in your household. We cannot approve an application that is not complete, so be sure to complete all required information. Return the completed application to: Food Services Office, 110 McDonald Drive, Lawrence, KS 66044.
2. Who may receive free meals?
Your child may receive free meals if your household income is within the free limits on the Federal Income Guidelines. Also, free meals are available to most foster children and to children in households receiving benefits from Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance to Families (TAF), or the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR).
3. Can homeless, runaway and migrant children receive free meals?
If you have not been informed that your child will receive free meals, please call Ron May, Lawrence Public Schools’ homeless liaison, at 832-5000.
4. I received a letter saying my children are approved for free meals for this school year. Should I fill out an application?
Please carefully read the letter you received and follow the instructions. Call the school at the number listed above if you have questions.
5. Who may receive reduced-price meals?
Your child may receive low-cost meals if your household income is within the reduced-price limits on the Federal Income Chart on the reverse side of the approval letter.
6. I receive WIC (Women, Infants and Children) benefits. May my child get free meals?
Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for reduced price or free meals. Please complete an application.
7. Will the information I give be checked?
Yes, we may ask you to send written proof of the information you provide on your application.
8. If I don’t qualify now, may I apply later?
You may apply at any time during the school year if your household size goes up, income goes down, or if you start getting Food Stamps, TAF or other benefits. If you lose your job, your child may be able to receive reduced-price or free meals.
9. What if I disagree with the school’s decision about my application?
You should talk to a school official. You also may ask for a hearing by calling or writing to:
Paula Murrish, Division Director of Food Services & Purchasing, 110 McDonald Drive, Lawrence, KS 6604, (785) 832-5000.
10. May I apply if someone in my household is not a U.S. citizen?
You or your child do not have to be a U.S. citizen to qualify your child to receive reduced price or free meals.
11. Who should I include as members of my household?
Include yourself, all children who live with you and all other people living in your household, related or not (such as grandparents, other relatives, or friends).
12. What if my income is not always the same?
List the amount that you normally receive BEFORE deductions. For example, if you normally receive $1,000 each month, but you missed some work last month and only earned $900, list that you earn $1,000 per month. If you are normally paid for overtime, include it.
13. I have been approved for reduced-price or free Child Nutrition Program benefits, why am I still being charged for other school fees like the instructional material fee or textbook rental?
 School fees are not automatically waived.  Before the Food Services Department can share your Child Nutrition Program benefits with the Business Office they need permission from you to do so. The Federal Government (USDA) requires a “Waiver of Confidentiality” be on file each school year granting permission to share Child Nutrition Benefits for other reasons, for the children listed on the form. Once permission is granted, the Business Office can review and grant waivers for applicable fees.


An accounting system and the necessary forms for its maintenance are prescribed by the StateBoard of Accounts. If these forms are properly maintained for your program, you will have little difficulty obtaining the information needed to prepare monthly federal reimbursement claims, quarterly financial reports, etc. Effective internal controls of cash receipts and meals served are built into the system by using one of several methods. The methods are the use of properly maintained and approved class rosters, prenumbered meal tickets, and cash registers.
Computerized cash systems could be used after submission and review by the State Board of Accounts. All cash register systems must be equipped with identification keys to indicate (1) paid student meals, (2) reduced price student meals, (3) free student meals, (4) adult meals, (5) a la carte sales and other additional categories the school corporation may wish to identify that may be required by the accounting system. The register must have locked-in audit tapes and non-resettable totals for each category. If any type of cash register system is used, the cashier is accountable for the cash registered on that machine when it is totaled and checked out.
If meal tickets are used, the tickets are issued to each ticket seller in pre numbered blocks. Each ticket seller is charged with the value of the tickets issued and must either turn in money or unused tickets to discharge his liability. A receipt must be issued to each ticket seller for the money deposited with the charter school. If a daily ticket is used, it is collected at the serving line; however, if the ticket is for multiple days, it is punched at the serving line as that day’s meal is served.
All methods to account for the cafeteria operation require that the person responsible for collecting and reporting the money received for meals be different from the person responsible for counting and reporting the number of meals served. Under no circumstances shall all duties be vested in a single individual. School Food Form SF-2, Daily Record of Cash Received, categorizes cash receipts on a daily basis and must be totaled monthly. School Food Form SF-2A, Daily Record of Meals/Milk Served, records daily the number of meals/milk served and must be totaled monthly and will be a source of information for preparation of the monthly claim for federal reimbursement. School Food Form SF-3, Cash Disbursements and Fund Balance, is used to record on a daily basis the disbursements of the School Food Service Program and together with the SF-2 acts as the source information for the calculation of the fund balance as shown on the SF-3. The disbursement categories Service Area Direction and Food Preparation and Dispensing are defined as: Service Area Direction. Activities pertaining to directing and managing the food service program for the school corporation. Food Preparation and Dispensing. Activities concerned with preparing and serving the food and beverages associated with the food service program. This includes operating kitchen equipment, preparing food, cooking, serving food, cleaning and storing dishes and kitchen and lunch room equipment.
17-2Forms SF-1, SF-2, SF-2A, and SF-3 shall be maintained on a daily basis and totaled monthly.
These monthly totals are a source of information for preparation of the claim for federal reimbursement, the quarterly financial report, etc. SCHOOL FOOD VERIFICATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY
We understand situations exist which could be a concern regarding charter schools test-checking the validity of information provided on the applications for free and reduced-priced meals. The results of test checks, are to be reported to the Indiana Department of Education in accordance with 7CFR 245.6(a). Some tests note a very high incidence of errors or inaccurate applications.
An error for purposes of the test-check is an approved application, attempted to be verified that cannot be verified by the program participants with requested income verification information (i.e.,paycheck stub, W-2, etc.). Program participants who have an application that cannot be verified are not always dropped from the free and reduced-price meal program and corrections in reporting and additional testing does not always occur. The State Board of Accounts is of the audit position charter schools shall request a written position from the Indiana Department of Education stating whether the corrective action taken was sufficient or if additional verifications need to be performed when high incidences of errors in test sample verifications are noted. The written communication to the Department of Education must also request a determination if any increases or decreases in funding will result to the charter school because of the concerns noted with the verification process.

Subsidiary records by student must be routinely reconciled to the cash balance and at month end.

The School Food Prescribed Forms and any approved computerized Forms will be required to be maintained in the following manner to accurately account for prepaid items. A column titled “Prepaid Food” is added to the Daily Record of Cash Received, Form SF-2, for recording prepaid amounts received which have not been identified as to revenue type, i.e., lunch, breakfast, etc. Amounts will be entered both in “Prepaid Food” and “Total Cash Received” for each day because cash has been received. Another column “Prepaid Food Applied” is also added to Form SF-2, which will show periodic (and monthly) activity whenever prepaid meals are identified (charged to breakfast, lunch, etc.). Amounts in “Prepaid Food Applied” must at all times equal for each day, the amounts charged to various categories, i.e., student lunch, adult breakfast, etc. that were not paid for in cash. Amounts will not be added to “Total Cash Received” because cash has been previously entered and recognized in “Prepaid Food”. You are merely transferring “Prepaid Food” to the applicable categories.
The final column added to SF-2 is “Prepaid Food Trust”, which is the running balance column which shows the difference between “Prepaid Food” and “Prepaid Food Applied”. The amounts in “Prepaid Food Trust” are deducted from the “Balance” column in SF-3 Form, School Food Service Cash Disbursements which then should equal the amount in the new SF-3 Column “Available Cash Balance.”
Amounts are not entered in “Total Cash Received” because “Prepaid Food Trust” is merely a balance column. Computerized systems must provide a list, by student, of cash balances which should sum to the “Prepaid Food Trust.”

The Healthy Eating Index: How Is America Doing?

March is National Nutrition Month. Throughout the month, USDA will be highlighting results of our efforts to improve access to safe, healthy food for all Americans and supporting the health of our next generation.

About half of all American adults—117 million individuals—have one or more preventable chronic diseases, many of which are related to poor quality eating patterns and physical inactivity. These include cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and poor bone health. More than two-thirds of adults and nearly one-third of children and youth are overweight or obese.  Trends in food intake show that Americans are not consuming healthy eating patterns.

Earlier this year, the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and the US Department of Agriculture’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion released the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Written for use by health professionals and policy makers, the Dietary Guidelines is released every 5 years to provide nutrition guidance for Americans age 2 and older to prevent diet-related chronic disease and maintain health.

The Healthy Eating Index (HEI) measures how the nation’s food choices align with the Dietary Guidelines. The nation’s current HEI score is 59 out of 100. The HEI score in previous years was even lower. At the same time, diet-related chronic disease rates over the last 25 years have risen and remain high. Given the robust science behind the Dietary Guidelines, it is not an understatement to suggest that if we were to eat closer to the Dietary Guidelines – and saw our nation’s HEI scores get closer to 100 – we would see reductions in the prevalence of diet-related chronic disease.

HEI-2010 scores for the U.S. population, 1999-2012

HEI-2010 scores for the U.S. population, 1999-2012

With each edition of the Dietary Guidelines, the HEI is updated to align with the most recent nutrition recommendations. The current version is HEI-2010 and scores the average American diet based on intakes of total fruit, whole fruit, total vegetables, greens and beans, whole and refined grains, total protein foods, seafood and plant-based protein foods, sodium, and calories from solid fats, added sugar, and alcohol beyond a moderate level. The tool is being updated to reflect the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines released in January.

Monitoring scores in the U.S. population is one of many applications of the HEI. An HEI score can be calculated for any defined set of foods including dietary intake data, menus at restaurants, and a market basket of foods. Use of the HEI can apply to surveillance, policy, epidemiologic, clinical and behavioral research.

More than 200 scientific publications have featured the use of the HEI. The number and scope of publications continue to grow each year, with nearly 90 papers published in 2015 alone. A majority of studies published over the years have examined the association between overall diet quality and health outcomes. Examples of health outcomes studied have included cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dental health, and ocular health. Researchers are also interested in comparing HEI scores for specific subgroups of the population such as children and adolescents, older adults, and specific race-ethnic populations. Scores for children and older adults were recently made available on the CNPP website. HEI has also been used to score the U.S. Food Supply and to evaluate how USDA food distribution programs such as National School Lunch Program and Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations provide foods that align with the Dietary Guidelines.

Learn more about the HEI here.

Posted by TusaRebecca E. Schap, PhD, MPH, RD, Lead Nutritionist, USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, on March 16, 2016 at 10:00 AM

Connection Between Children’s Emotions, Mental Skills and Eating Habits

Agricultural Research Service scientists are studying the relationship between eating behaviors and cognitive control as an avenue to address childhood obesity. ARS photo by Scott Bauer.

American children are gaining weight. Obesity now affects one in six children and adolescents in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s a major concern because extra pounds can increase risk for developing serious health problems in children, including diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

While strategies to reduce childhood obesity include improving diet and increasing exercise, USDA scientists are looking for ways to prevent behaviors in children that may lead to obesity. Nutritionist Kevin Laugero, who works at the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s (ARS) Western Human Nutrition Research Center in Davis, California, recently investigated the relationship between obesity, unhealthy eating behaviors and decreased mental skills in 3- to 6-year-olds.

Laugero and his colleagues at the University of California-Davis discovered, for the first time, a connection between young children’s eating behaviors and experiencing an emotional state. The team also found that mental skills, referred to here as “cognitive control,” are significantly associated with overeating and emotions.

Cognitive control allows us to remember, plan, organize, make decisions, manage time, maintain emotional and self-control, and curb inappropriate behavior.

“At an early age, these skills are rapidly developing,” Laugero says. “If we’re able to understand the relationship between eating behaviors and cognitive control, we may be able to develop preventive methods for young children to help control obesity.”

Researchers conducted several experiments to examine the balance between emotional state, snacking and cognitive control in preschool children. Cognitive control was measured through computerized and hands-on tasks, parent questionnaires and standardized teacher reports.

“Our research suggests that, even at a young age, children with lower cognitive control skills may be more likely to engage in emotional-based overeating,” Laugero says. “On the other hand, our results suggest that children with higher cognitive control skills may be less likely to overeat.”

Laugero and his colleagues are considering further studies, using intervention strategies, to improve cognitive control during preschool years. They would then follow up with children to see whether intervention encourages healthier eating habits, including less emotional eating, later in life

Posted by Sandra Avant, Public Affairs Specialist, Agricultural Research Service, on March 22, 2016 at 11:00 AM