What Parents Need To Know About Free & Reduced School Meals



The Houston Independent School District announces the policy for free and reduced-price meals served under the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program for the 2011-2012 school year.  Each school has a copy of the policy, which may be reviewed by any interested party.


The Houston Independent School District Schools offer a choice of healthy meals each school day.  Breakfast is free; lunch costs $2.25 in elementary and $2.25 in secondary.  Your children may qualify for free meals or for reduced-price meals.  The reduced price is $.40 for lunch.  All meals served must meet nutrition standards as established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  If a child has a disability, as determined by a doctor, and the disability prevents the child from eating the regular school meal, the school will make substitutions prescribed by the doctor.  If a substitution is needed, there will be no extra charge for the meal.  Please note, however, that the school is not required to make a substitution for a food allergy, unless it meets the definition of disability.  Please call the school for further information.


Parents can prepay for their child’s lunch by going to www.parentonline.net.


Children from families whose income is at or below the level shown on the following scale are eligible for either free or reduced-price meals:












Reduced Price


Reduced Price


Reduced Price





















































































For each additional family member add:





+ $4,966

+ $7,067

+ $414

+ $589

+ $96



Your children can get free school meals if you get Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).


DIRECT CERTIFICATION FOR FREE MEALS:          Many students have been approved for free meals, for the school year 2011-2012, based on information provided by the Texas Department of Human Services.  The parents of these students were sent HISD Direct Certification Notices by U.S. Mail.  These parents are not to fill out or return a school lunch application for the child listed on the notification letter.  Direct Certified students are eligible for free meals.

 How do I get free or reduced-price school meals for my children?         You must complete the Application for Free and Reduced-price Meals Form and return it to the school.

 Parents can complete an online application by going to www.mealapps.houstonisd.org.

 ¨      Households getting SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or TANF.  You only have to include your children’s names and eligibility group numbers, and an adult household member must sign the form.

¨      Households that do not get SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or TANF.  If you do not have an Eligibility Group Number, you must include the names of all household members, the amount of income each person received last month and where the income came from.  An adult household member must sign the form and include his or her social security number, or indicate that he or she has no social security number.

¨      Households with a foster child. Foster children who are the legal responsibility of the state agency or court are eligible for free meal benefits regardless of the income of the household with whom they reside.

 Will the form be verified?  Your eligibility may be checked at any time during the school year.  School officials may ask you to send written evidence that shows that your children should get free or reduced-price school meals. 

Can I appeal the school’s decision?  You can talk to school officials if you do not agree with the school’s decision on your form.  You also may ask for a fair hearing by calling or writing to: Manager Nutrition Services, HISD/ARAMARK Food Services, 6801 Bennington St. Houston, Texas 77028, (Phone: 713-491-5730).

 Will my information be kept confidential?  We will use the information on your form to decide if your children should get free or reduced-price meals.  We may inform officials with other child nutrition, health and education programs of the information on your form to determine benefits for those programs or for funding and/or evaluation purposes.


Can I apply for free and reduced-price meals later?  You may apply for free and reduced-price meals at any time during the school year.  If you are not eligible now but have a change, like a decrease in household income, an increase in household size, become unemployed or get SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) or TANF, complete another form then. 

We will let you know if you are approved or denied.

 Non-discrimination Statement:  This explains what to do if you believe you have been treated unfairly.  In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.  To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call toll free (866) 632-9992 (Voice). Individuals who are hearing impaired or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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