Thursday, August 27, 2009

Food and Nutrition Offers New Service for Parents

Families whose income is below the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines may qualify for free or reduced-priced meal benefits. A family MUST submit a new application at the start of each new school year. Food and Nutrition Services is excited to offer a new service to parents. This school year, parents can fill out an application online for their child(ren) for free and reduced-priced meals. The online application is a more convenient and an error-proof way for families to apply for meal benefits. It allows Food and Nutrition Services to process an application in half the time as a paper application. The online registration process does not provide families with immediate notification as to their child’s eligibility status, but will ensure that the application is completed correctly and will speed up the approval process at the District Office. Once the application is processed, a notification letter will be mailed to parents with their child's eligibility status. The online application is available on the FNS website, or by clicking here. New paper versions of the 2009-2010 Free and Reduced-price Meal Applications are available in the school cafeteria or the school’s administration office. The 2008-2009 meal eligibility status will expire on September 4, 2009. Any student who received free or reduced-price meal benefits at the end of the 2008-2009 school year must submit a new application and be approved by the expiration date. If these requirements are not met, the student will be required to pay full price for all meals until a new 2009-2010 Free and Reduced-Price Meal Application is received and approved by the Food and Nutrition Services Department. Once a completed paper application is submitted, the approval process may take five business days or half this time if an application is submitted online. “Each year we process approximately 53,000 family applications. The new online application has reduced the time it takes to process an application by at least half. By using the online application, we could save the District money from printing costs, process applications more quickly, and help the environment at the same time,” stated Nicole Westmoreland, FNS Finance Coordinator. For more information or questions, please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), FNS Finance Coordinator at (813) 794-2438, (727) 774-2438, or (352) 524-2438.

Monday, July 06, 2009

School Meal Prices 2009/2010

The District School Board of Pasco County’s policy for free and reduced-priced meals and new meal prices were Board approved for the 2009-2010 school year. Under the National School Lunch Act, families who are below the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines may qualify for free or reduced-priced meal benefits. Families MUST complete a new Free and Reduced-Price Meal Application for the upcoming school year. Applications will be available on August 1, 2009 in the school cafeteria, the school’s administration office, at student orientation, on-line and throughout the school year. A new family application MUST be submitted at the start of each new school year. A new family application can also be submitted any time during the school year if a family should become eligible under the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines. Student Meal Prices for 2009/2010 Elementary Breakfast: $1.25/ Lunch: $2.00 Secondary Breakfast: $1.40/ Lunch: $2.50 Reduced-price Breakfast: $ .30/ Lunch: $.40 Prices are subject to change Last year’s meal eligibility status will expire after the first ten days of school on September 7, 2009. Any student who received free or reduced-price meal benefits in the 2008-2009 school year who has not submitted a new application and has not been approved by the expiration date to the Food and Nutrition Services Department, will be required to pay full price for all meals. Until the new application is received and approved, parents must provide their child(ren) with money to pay for their child(ren)’s meals at the regular listed price or, parents can send a lunch from home for their child(ren). This includes applications based on Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and Foster Child(ren). Is my family eligible for free or reduced-price meals? All applications are reviewed and approved where applicable by the Food and Nutrition Services Department. An application must contain complete eligibility information. Once the application is approved, a notification letter is sent to the family. The approval for meal benefits is good for the entire school year; e.g. a status of free, reduced-price, or denied (full payment required). Unless indicated otherwise on the application, the information on the Free and Reduced-Price Meal application may be used by the school system in determining eligibility for other educational programs. If you have any questions regarding the Free and Reduced-Price Meal Application or the school food program, please contact Determining Official, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)at (813) 794-2438, or 7227 Land O’ Lakes Blvd, Land O’ Lakes, FL 34638. If you do not agree with the final decision made on the eligibility status of your meal benefit application, you have the right to appeal. To appeal, you must contact Richard P. Kurtz, Director of Food and Nutrition Services, at 7227 Land O’ Lakes Blvd, Land O’ Lakes, FL 34638. In accordance with Federal law and the U. S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 or (202) 720-6382 (TTY). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Proposed Boundary Maps Available

Both the High School and Middle School Boundary Committees for the west side of the county have completed their work in developing proposed boundary changes. The committees began meeting in May and were tasked with developing a boundary for the new High School “EEE” as well as adjusting boundaries for the entire west side that would balance school populations and provide consistent feeder patterns. These new boundaries, if approved, would take effect beginning in the 2010-2011 school year in conjunction with the opening of the new high school which is currently under construction at State Road 52 and Chicago Avenue. Maps showing the proposed boundaries are posted here on the website. Large maps of these boundaries will also be posted at each of the middle and high schools on the west side of the county. Parents will have opportunities to comment on these boundaries as well as ask questions at parent meetings which will be held in September and October (dates, times and locations to be announced). Parents will also have the opportunity to provide comment to the school board when they take up the issue at two meetings in the late fall of this year (again, dates and times to be announced). Elementary “S”, located off of Community Drive, south of SR 54, just west of Gunn Highway in the Odessa area, is on track to open in August of 2010. The boundary committee charged with developing this boundary will begin meeting in September. A proposed boundary, created from the boundaries of Trinity Elementary, Longleaf Elementary and Oakstead Elementary is expected to be complete by the end of September or early October. A parent meeting will be conducted in October to provide opportunities for parent input and questions. The school board will discuss this boundary in conjunction with the boundaries outlined above. Any questions regarding the boundaries should be directed to the Planning Department. High Schools Proposed Boundary Map (2010/2011) Middle Schools Proposed Boundary Map (2010/2011)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Search Goes Back…to the Future

During the last couple of days I made the decision to scrap our CMSes internal search engine and go back to using the Google custom search we had working on the previous site. The change should be more or less transparent; you still access search using the magnifying glass button in the upper right corner of the page. It's no secret to anyone who worked with me during the development phase of our new site that I've long felt internal search was one of the few weak points of the content management system we selected. Despite my better judgment, I decided to use it at launch for two reasons: First, I figured it would take a little time for Google to re-index our site with all the new changes, and second, I wanted to see how well it would work for he general user. In short, it didn't. At least not yet. So Google is back. In time I'm sure we'll implement some part of the internal search again, most likely to allow for an employee contact finder or as a replacement to the administrative database, but that's going to take some work before it's ready. More news as it becomes available. As always, your comments are welcome.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Food and Nutrition Awarded USDA Best Practice in Customer Service

Pasco County Schools' Food and Nutrition Services Departments has just received word that it has earned a USDA Southeast Region Best Practice Award in Customer Service for its Elementary Color Wheel Program, designed to help elementary students understand their lunch and breakfast meal choices. The program was developed with the help from the food service staff at Cotee River Elementary School during their "Eat Your Colors" promotion. The Color Wheel Program was launched in January after students returned from the winter break. Three different colors are used along with numbers to represent the different food choice categories and the quantity each student may select as a part of a healthy lunch or breakfast. The purpose of the USDA Best Practice Award is to encourage and reward outstanding practices in school food service programs in the Southeast Region, and for the department's continued efforts to provide quality services to Pasco County students. Last year, the department received a USDA Best Practice Award in Food Safety for its Amazing Race Food Safety Training Program. Congratulations to all FNS employees for your continued success!

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