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Santa Monica, Malibu Families to Receive Applications for Free School Meals
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July 27, 2016 -- With about a third of all students already qualifying, Santa Monica-Malibu public school officials Tuesday said families and guardians are being notified of the financial requirements next fall for students to receive free or reduced priced breakfasts and lunches.

To be eligible for free meals (including milk), incomes must range from $20,709 or less annually for a household of two persons to $53,157 a year for a household of eight, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District announced.

For reduced-priced meals, total household income ranges from $21,775 a year for two members to $75,647 for a household of eight.

Despite its location in two of California's wealthiest areas, SMMUSD has a large percentage of financially struggling students, as well as an unrelenting "achievement gap" on test scores.

Permits allow students who live outside Santa Monica and Malibu to attend District schools if they meet certain criteria, including having parents who are full-time employees of the School District, City and Santa Monica College or siblings currently on permits. Students in good standing who moved out of the district also are eligible ("Santa Monica School Board to Consider More Lax Permit Policy," February 8, 2012).

The meal applications will be sent to all households, with a letter informing parents or guardians of the availability of free and reduced-price meals, officials said.

The meals are provided as part of the National School Lunch Program and/or School Breakfast Program, said Gail Pinsker, a district spokesperson.

More details about income eligibility and applications for the free/reduced cost student meals are also available online at

According to the California Department of Education, nearly 2,900 of the 11,249 students enrolled at SMMUSD schools in the 2015-2016 fiscal year were eligible for free or reduced breakfast and lunch.

Half of the 65 students enrolled at Olympic High School (a continuation school) qualified for the program, and 209 of the 433 students at Edison Elementary School qualified, although not all took part in the program, the data showed.

Will Rogers Elementary and John Muir Elementary schools are not far behind Edison, the statistics on the “Free and Reduced Price Meal” program indicate.

Of the 2,950 students at Santa Monica High School, 813 of them were eligible for the program, or 28.9 percent. At Malibu High School, 128 students could take part, or nine percent of 1,106 students enrolled there, the data showed.

In all cases, most of the students in the program qualified for free meals, as opposed to receiving a cut in cost.

Without price breaks, SMMUSD elementary school students pay $1.25 for breakfast and $3 for lunch, the district’s website said.

Secondary school students pay $1.50 for breakfast and $3.50 for lunch.

The reduced price for eligible students is 30 cents off for breakfast and 40 cents off for lunch.

Households can submit an application at any time during the school year. The information on the application is used to determine eligibility and could be verified at any time during the school year by school officials, Pinsker said.

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