Increased Program Barriers and Labor Cost
The proposed rule would highly impact the students and families in need in our school district. Currently, many of our students are directly certified which decreases the potential for unpaid meal balances and eliminates the need for families to complete applications. This is especially important as there are 140 languages spoken in our district.
Having to complete an application for free and reduced meals in a language not native to you presents another obstacle for our families who desperately need the benefits of our breakfast and lunch program. The decrease in direct certification would increase the number of applications that would have to be processed and could result in increased labor needed to do so. My biggest concern is that with additional obstacles, many students may bring an unbalanced, unhealthy meal from home or just not eat at all. Not only would this decrease participation and revenue, it would negatively effect the learning ability and performance of our students which is what it was created to do!
Please reconsider revising the categorical eligibility to best meet the needs of our students who need our services the most!