by HISD staff
Huntsville ISD has received confirmation from the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) that our request for meal flexibilities has been approved. These flexibilities are in regards to our meal pattern and meal service times as well as the ability to feed students at no cost to the family. Huntsville ISD already offers free breakfast and dinner to all students regardless of any eligibility but not free lunch for all. Normally, only students who meet the eligibility guidelines for the Free and Reduced-Price Meals Program can receive free lunch. This recent approval from TDA grants Huntsville ISD the flexibility to offer FREE lunch to ALL students regardless of any eligibility but our provision is only effective until September 30, 2017. Therefore, all lunches served by Huntsville ISD from September 5 through September 29, 2017, do qualify for the no cost flexibility. This decision was made by the State in the wake of Hurricane Harvey for Presidentially Declared Disaster areas which Walker County is included in. Students will still be required to scan their meal account information when receiving their lunch during the month of September but there will be no actual charge to the child’s account. The State requires that the district provide documentation of all meals served, including, but not limited to, the number of meals served by meal type so collecting an official count of the free meals served is necessary.
It should be noted that all districts do not have the same flexibilities. In fact, some have additional flexibilities that were requested prior to as well as after Hurricane Harvey. Each request has specific rules and criteria with some being based on the district’s demographics and circumstances. Districts such as Houston ISD have applied for different eligibility programs that afford them other flexibilities that Huntsville ISD does not qualify for.
Students who normally participate in the Free and Reduced-Price Meal Program must reapply for this meal assistance annually. There is a temporary carry-over from one school year to the next but the grace period from the 2016-2017 school year will end on September 28, 2017. Students needing assistance for this current 2017-2018 school year must submit a new completed eligibility application now so that when this temporary September flexibility expires they will be able to continue receiving assistance if they qualify. Parents can find information about this TDA flexibility or the Free and Reduced-Price Meal Application with instructions on the district website at www.huntsville-isd.org on the Child Nutritional Services Department page. Applications can also be obtained from any campus front office. Completed applications should be returned to school immediately for processing. If you have any questions or concerns about student meals, please call 936-435- 6920.