Chatham Central School District Lik to Staff Resources area

Dr. Cheryl Nuciforo, Superintendent


Free and Reduced-Price School Meals/Milk

Children from households that meet federal income guidelines (outlined below) are eligible for free meals or reduced price meals. Reduced-price meals cost each eligible student $.25 for lunch and $.25 for breakfast. This program is completely confidential. Read letter to parents on 2016-2017 free and reduced meals or (Carta a los padres en 2016-2017 comidas libres y reducidas).

To apply for free or reduced price meals,download this Free & Reduced-Price Meals Application Form (aplicación en español), sign it and return it to the Food Service Office. Please refer to the guidelines below to complete the application. We cannot approve an application that is not complete, so be sure to fill out all required information.

Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines

2016-17 Income Chart: The following chart lists income eligibility levels according to household size and income levels received either yearly, monthly or weekly. If your total household income is the same or less than the amounts on the Income Chart below, your children may be eligible to receive free or reduced price meals.

Family Size






Twice per Month


Every Two Weeks




$ 21,978

$ 1,832

$ 916

$ 846

$ 423


$ 29,637

$ 2,470

$ 1,235

$ 1,140

$ 570


$ 37,296

$ 3,108

$ 1,554

$ 1,435

$ 718


$ 44,955

$ 3,747

$ 1,874

$ 1,730

$ 865


$ 52,614

$ 4,385

$ 2,193

$ 2,024

$ 1,012


$ 60,273

$ 5,023

$ 2,512

$ 2,319

$ 1,160


$ 67,951

$ 5,663

$ 2,832

$ 2,614

$ 1,307


$ 75,647

$ 6,304

$ 3,152

$ 2,910

$ 1,455

*Each Add’l person  add

$ 7,696

$ 642

$ 321

$ 296

$ 148

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do I need to fill out an application for each child?  No. Complete the application to apply for free or reduced price meals. Use one Free and Reduced Price School Meals Application for all students in your household. We cannot approve an application that is not complete, so be sure to fill out all required information. Return the completed application to: Chatham CSD, Attn: Food Service Supervisor, 50 Woodbridge Ave, Chatham, NY 12037, 518-392-1536.

  2. Who can get free meals? All children in households receiving benefits from food stamps, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations or TANF, can get free meals regardless of your income. Also, your children can get free meals if your household’s gross income is within the free limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines.

  3. Can foster children get free meals? Yes, foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court, are eligible for free meals.  Any foster child in the household is eligible for free meals regardless of income.

  4. Can homeless, runaway, and migrant children get free meals? Yes, children who meet the definition of homeless, runaway, or migrant qualify for free meals.  If you haven’t been told your children will get free meals, please call or e-mail Chatham CSD homeless liaison or migrant coordinator at 518-392-2400 ext:4052 to see if they qualify. 

  5. Who can get reduced price meals? Your children can get low cost meals if your household income is within the reduced price limits on the Federal Eligibility Income Chart, shown above.  

  6. Should I fill out an application if I received a letter this school year saying my children are approved for free meals? Please read the letter you got carefully and follow the instructions. Call the school at 392-1536 if you have questions.  

  7. My child's application was approved last year, Do I need to fill out another one? Yes. Your child’s application is only good for that school year and for the first few days of this school year. You must send in a new application unless the school told you that your child is eligible for the new school year. 

  8. I get WIC. Can my child(ren) get free meals? Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for free or reduced price meals.  Please fill out a Free and Reduced Lunch Application Form.

  9. If I don’t qualify now, may I apply later? Yes, you may apply at any time during the school year. For example, children with a parent or guardian who becomes unemployed may become eligible for free and reduced price meals if the household income drops below the income limit.

  10. What if I disagree with the school’s decision about my application? You should talk to school officials. You also may ask for a hearing by calling or writing to: Chatham CSD, Attn: Superintendent of Schools, 50 Woodbridge Ave, Chatham, NY 12037.

  11. May I apply if someone in my household is not a U.S. citizen? Yes. You or your child(ren) do not have to be U.S. citizens to qualify for free or reduced price meals. 

  12. Who should I include as members of my household? You must include all people living in your household, related or not (such as grandparents, other relatives, or friends) who share income and expenses. You must include yourself and all children living with you. If you live with other people who are economically independent (for example, people who you do not support, who do not share income with you or your children, and who pay a pro-rated share of expenses), do not include them.

  13. What if my income is not always the same? List the amount that you normally receive. For example, if you normally make $1000 each month, but you missed some work last month and only made $900, put down that you made $1000 per month. If you normally get overtime, include it, but do not include it if you only work overtime sometimes. If you have lost a job or had your hours or wages reduced, use your current income.

  14. We are in the military. Do we include our housing allowance as income? If you get an off-base housing allowance, it must be included as income. However, if your housing is part of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, do not include your housing allowance as income.

  15. My spouse is deployed to a combat zone. Is his/her combat pay counted as income?  No, if the combat pay is received in addition to his/her basic pay because of her deployment and it wasn’t received before she was deployed, combat pay is not counted as income. Contact your school for more information.

  16. My family needs more help. Are there other programs we might apply for? To find out how to apply for food stamps or other assistance benefits, contact your local assistance office or call 1-800-342-3009.

Additional Information

If you now receive food stamps, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) for any children, or participate in the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), the application must include the children’s names, the household food stamp, TANF or FDPIR number and the signature of an adult household member. All children with the same case number may be listed on the same application. Separate applications are required for children with different case numbers.

If you do not list a food stamp, TANF or FDPIR number for all the children for whom you are applying, the application must include the names of everyone in the household, the amount of income each household member, and how often it is received and where it comes from. It must include the signature of an adult household member and that adult’s social security number, or the word “none” if the adult does not have a social security number. An application that is not complete cannot be approved. Contact your local Department of Social Services for your food stamp or TANF number or complete the income portion of the application.

Reporting Changes: The benefits that you are approved for at the time of application are effective for the entire school year. You no longer need to report changes for an increase in income or decrease in household size, or if you no longer receive food stamps.

Income Exclusions: The value of any child care provided or arranged, or any amount received as payment for such child care or reimbursement for costs incurred for such care under the Child Care Development (Block Grant) Fund should not be considered as income for this program.

Nondiscrimination 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 for Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington DC 20250-9410 or call 202-720-5964 (voice and TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Meal Service to Children With Disabilities: Federal regulations require schools and institutions to serve meals at no extra charge to children with a disability which may restrict their diet. A student with a disability is defined in 7CFR Part 15b.3 of Federal regulations, as one who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities. Major life activities are defined to include functions such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working. You must request the special meals from the school and provide the school with medical certification from a medical doctor. If you believe your child needs substitutions because of a disability, please get in touch with us for further information, as there is specific information that the medical certification must contain.

Confidentiality: The United States Department of Agriculture has approved the release of students names and eligibility status, without parent/guardian consent, to persons directly connected with the administration or enforcement of federal education programs such as Title I and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which are United States Department of Education programs used to determine areas such as the allocation of funds to schools, to evaluate socioeconomic status of the school’s attendance area, and to assess educational progress. Information may also be released to State health or State education programs administered by the State agency or local education agency, provided the State or local education agency administers the program, and federal State or local nutrition programs similar to the National School Lunch Program.

Additionally, all information contained in the free and reduced price application may be released to persons directly connected with the administration or enforcement of programs authorized under the National School Lunch Act (NSLA) or Child Nutrition Act (CNA); including the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, the Special Milk Program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, Summer Food Service Program and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC); the Comptroller General of the United States for audit purposes, and federal, State or local law enforcement officials investigating alleged violation of the programs under the NSLA or CNA.

The disclosure of eligibility information not specifically authorized by the NSLA requires a written consent statement from the parent/guardian. We will let you know when your application is approved or denied.