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Commerce ISD Transitions Back to Application Requirement for
Free and Reduced-Price School Meals 
Back to School and Back to Normal in the Cafeteria 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress authorized spending that allowed schools to serve free meals for all students. Those funds are not authorized to continue for the 2022-2023 school year. As a result, Commerce ISD must return to charging for school meals and offering free and reduced-price meals based on student eligibility. Families are encouraged to complete the Application for Free and Reduced-Price School Meals, which will be included in the online registration for returning students and in a paper version during districtwide registration for new students. The application can be reviewed at: https://www.commerceisd.org/departments/food-nutrition
 
The application will determine a child’s eligibility for free and reduced-price meals and may assist in the determination of eligibility for other state or federal benefits. Only one application needs to be completed per household. Schools will notify the household of the child’s eligibility. The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) administers school nutrition programs in Texas and offers an eligibility calculator at www.SquareMeals.org/ProgramEligibility
 
Decisions regarding payment for school meals are made at the national-government level, not by the school nutrition team or TDA. The dedicated staff at Commerce ISD is looking forward to serving healthy, balanced meals to students in the new school year. These meals, whether paid, free, or reduced-price, offer a good source of nutrition for children. 
 
Criteria for Free and Reduced-Price Meal Benefits
The following criteria will be used to determine a child’s eligibility for free or reduced-price meal benefits: 

Income Eligibility
  • Household income that is at or below the income eligibility levels 
Categorical or Automatic Eligibility
  • Household receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
Program Participant Eligibility
  • Child’s status as a foster child, homeless, runaway, migrant, or displaced by a declared disaster 
  • Child’s enrollment in Head Start or Even Start 
Income Eligibility
For those households that qualify for free or reduced-price meals based on income, an adult in the household must fill out free and reduced-price meal application (will be completed online for returning students) and return it to any school office or the Central Administration Building. Those individuals filling out the application will need to provide the following information:
  1. Names of all household members
  2. Amount, frequency, and source of current income for each household member
  3. Last 4 digits of the Social Security number of the adult household member who signs the application or, if the adult does not have a social security number, check the box for “No Social Security number” 
  4. Signature of an adult household member attesting that the information provided is correct
Categorical or Program Participant Eligibility
Commerce ISD is working with local agencies to identify all children who are categorically and program eligible. Commerce ISD will notify the households of these children that they do not need to complete an application. Any household that does not receive a letter and feels it should, can contact Jacqueline Finch, Dining Services Secretary, at 903-366-0909.
 
Applications may be submitted anytime during the school year. The information households provide on the application will be used for the purpose of determining eligibility. Applications may also be verified by the school officials at any time during the school year.
 
Determining Eligibility
Under the provisions of the free and reduced-price meal policy, Jacqueline Finch, Dining Services Secretary, will review applications and determine eligibility. Households or guardians dissatisfied with the Reviewing Official’s eligibility determination may wish to discuss the decision with the Reviewing Official on an informal basis. Households wishing to make a formal appeal for a hearing on the decision may make a request either orally or in writing to Jacqueline Finch, Dining Services Secretary, 3315 Washington St.
 
Unexpected Circumstances
If a household member becomes unemployed or if the household size increases, the household should contact the school. Such changes may make the children of the household eligible for benefits if the household’s income falls at or below the attached current income eligibility guidelines.

In the operation of child feeding programs, no child will be discriminated against because of race, sex, color, national origin, age, or disability. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
 
Meal Prices are as follows:
Secondary Campuses: $3.00 Lunch / $2.25 Breakfast
Elementary Campuses: $2.75 Lunch / $2.25 Breakfast (CES will still offer free breakfast for all students.)
Reduced (based on eligibility): $0.40 Lunch / $0.30 Breakfast

 
Read More about CISD Transitions Back to Application Requirement for Free and Reduced-Price School Meals
icon of chalkboard with School Board Meeting sign

During a special meeting on Tuesday, March 8, the CISD Board of Trustees approved the 2022-2023 school calendar.

2022-2023 School Calendar

School in session on April 11th

The Board also approved converting a teacher day on April 11, 2022, to a student instructional day and adding five minutes daily to Commerce Elementary and Commerce Middle Schools for the remainder of the school year to obtain the required minutes. The extra time must be added because of the missed day due to COVID absences in February. 

Read More about Board approves 2022-2023 school calendar