Meal applications are now open for the 2013-2014 school year. The start of a new school year means a new Meal Benefits Application from LAUSD. 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.

What you may not know:

The percentage of students who qualify for free or reduced cost meals can determine how much federal funding our school receives.

There is a federal law called Title I, which funds primary and secondary education for low-income students. A school qualifies as a Title I school if a certain percentage of students qualify for free or reduced cost meals. I believe the minimum threshold to become a Title I school is if 40% of students qualify for meal benefits. A Title I school receives even more federal funds if a greater percentage of students qualify for benefits (60% or 65% as opposed to 40%).

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.

Even if you don’t qualify for benefits, it helps our 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. If you are positive you won’t qualify, there is a box at the top of the application that you can check to state that you are not applying for benefits. You can also now complete the application online at LAUSD’s Food Services Division web site.

Learn how to fill out a meal application with videos in English or Spanish and step by step instructions.