A number of students in our area utilize the federal Free and Reduced Meals program offered and the new guidelines are now in effect until June 30, 2014.
The guidelines apply to schools participating in the National School Lunch Program and other programs. The program’s eligibility and other mandates are adjusted annually and are based on the Federal income poverty guidelines. They are stated on household size.
Definition of income as explained in the guidelines means income before any deductions such as income taxes, Social Security taxes, insurance premiums, charitable contributions and bonds.
Reduced price meals account for 185 percent of the Federal poverty guideline and free meals account for 130 percent of the Federal poverty guideline. A complete income guideline chart can be found here.
The number of free and reduced students becomes a factor when analyzing ISTEP+ scores as those students are in their own group. They can either improve or worsen a school’s overall performance on the test.