States and school districts have a unique opportunity to improve the content and design of their applications for free or reduced-price school meals to make it easier for eligible low-income parents to enroll their children. Every school district in the country will have to revise its application for the 2011-2012 school year to reflect recent legislation reauthorizing the federal school meals programs. By going beyond the required changes, state and districts can make their applications more user-friendly and more likely to elicit accurate information.
We reviewed the applications for each state and the 100 largest school districts and identified the following key ways in which states and school districts can help families struggling against hunger get healthy meals for their children.
Provide materials in a language and at a level parents can understand.
Ask only for necessary information.
Reduce opportunities for math errors.
Encourage eligible families to apply.
A checklist of specific features that help accomplish these goals is available