Update on Meals at Federal Hocking Local Schools for 2023-2024

Beginning with the 2023-2024 school year Federal Hocking will no longer be able to offer free meals to all students. Federal Hocking Local Schools no longer qualifies for the Community Eligibility Provision because the percentage of students identified through direct certification has fallen below 40%.

This is how Community Eligibility Provision works:

Federal Hocking Local Schools has been able to provide free breakfast and lunch for all students through a Federal program called Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). Through the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), school food authorities offer no-cost lunch and breakfast to all students for up to four consecutive years in approved schools. To determine eligibility of a school for the CEP,  the number of identified students as a percentage of school enrollment is calculated. The percentage of identified students to enrollment must be 40% or greater. Enrollment count is reflective of April 1 of the school year prior to CEP application and identified student documentation is from July 1 - April 1 of the school year prior to CEP application. 

Identified students are students certified for free eligible meals using methods other than a free and reduced student meal application. The identified student count is not a school's free and reduced student percentage. An identified student must meet one of the following categories:
1. Directly certified for free meals based on participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Ohio Works First (OWF). This count includes children in the same household as students on the benefits;
2. Homeless and runaway students;
3. Migrant students;
4. Federal Head Start program participants;
5. Foster children confirmed using court documentation.

Individual students will still receive reduced price or free meals if they qualify. Qualification for reduced price or free meals is determined by submitting required forms at the beginning of the 2023-2024 school year. These forms will be made available to all students, but must be returned promptly to determine qualification. Students who do not qualify will have to pay for lunch. Prices are  $3.45 for a tray lunch for elementary school students and $3.75 for middle and high school students. Student who qualify for reduced price lunch will pay $0.40 and qualifying students will still receive free lunches. Breakfast will be free for ALL students. We hope that this information will help families prepare for the 2023-2024 school year.  Free and Reduced Lunch Forms will be provided at the beginning of the school year.

We know that this will be a burden for some of our families. We will work with you to ensure that every child receives a meal. Federal Hocking Local Schools will apply again for CEP in Spring 2024. We will update you if we again qualify for CEP.