The five school districts in Sullivan and Washington counties (including Bristol, Johnson City and Kingsport) are joining forces to encourage all families to complete the federal meal benefits application that help qualify students for free or reduced prices on school meals.
Since federal waivers, which have allowed all students to eat free since March 2020, will no longer be in effect for the upcoming school year, school meal service will resume operating as it did prior to the pandemic. For students to receive free or reduced prices on school meals, they will need to have an approved application on file.
“It is more important than ever for families to complete the meal benefits application to determine if they qualify,” said Jennifer Burleson, school nutrition director for Bristol Tennessee City Schools. “With the federal waiver providing free meals for all students last school year, many families never completed an application. As a result, our percentage of families who qualified for free or reduced meals was much lower than usual.”
Her counterpart with Johnson City Schools agreed.
“We encourage all families to complete the meal benefits application,” said Karen McGahey, food service director for Johnson City Schools. “The program provides more than just meals for students. Completing that one form can result in increased funding for additional classroom resources to benefit all students; discounts on SAT, ACT and AP exam fees; discounted fees on college applications; and increased opportunities for college scholarships.”
Districts will provide applications to all students at the beginning of the school year. Families must reapply each year and can apply anytime during the school year.
For more information, families may contact the school nutrition department in their school district.
Johnson City Schools Documents
2022-2023 Application Parent Letter
2022-2023 Free & Reduced Meal Page 1
2022-2023 Free & Reduced Meal Page 2
2022-2023 Instruction on How to Apply