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Pat Birkenshaw PowerPoint Presentation
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Pat Birkenshaw

Pat Birkenshaw

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Pat Birkenshaw

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  1. Pat Birkenshaw State Director Child Nutrition Programs

  2. Direct Certification P.L. 108-265, Section 104 Effective Dates Vary Changes in Child Nutrition Program Law and Regulations Pennsylvania Department of Education, June 2005

  3. Direct Certification • Process that allows local education agencies to certify children who are members of households receiving Food Stamps or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) as eligible for FREE school meals without further application. • Intent of Direct Certification is to facilitate participation in school meals programs by simplifying access to free meals for low-income children. Changes in Child Nutrition Program Law and Regulations Pennsylvania Department of Education, June 2005

  4. Direct Certification • Research continues to show that Direct Certification accurately brings more children into the school meals programs. • Direct Certification has been optional for all schools participating in federal school meals programs since 1991. Changes in Child Nutrition Program Law and Regulations Pennsylvania Department of Education, June 2005

  5. Direct Certification is no longer optional! Direct Certification must be implemented by all public and non-public sponsors of the National School Lunch Program according to the following time table: Changes in Child Nutrition Program Law and Regulations Pennsylvania Department of Education, June 2005

  6. How Direct Certification Currently Works in Pennsylvania • PDE mails the confidentiality statement to school districts, via PEARS, for Superintendents’ signatures. School districts choosing to participate in Direct Certification return the signed confidentiality statements to the PDE. • In the first or second week of August, the PDE receives an electronic file from the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) with the names of children from families receiving Food Stamp or TANF benefits during the month of July, sorted by school district zip code. Changes in Child Nutrition Program Law and Regulations Pennsylvania Department of Education, June 2005

  7. How Direct Certification Currently Works in Pennsylvania • PDE sends the electronic file to our Bureau of Information Systems (BIS), who then provides copies of Direct Certification lists, by school district, in hard copy, floppy disks, or CD’s, as requested by individual school districts. • PDE then mails Direct Certification lists to school districts in the requested formats. Changes in Child Nutrition Program Law and Regulations Pennsylvania Department of Education, June 2005

  8. Current Challenges with Direct Certification in Pennsylvania • School districts continue to complain that Direct Certification lists from the PDE are received too late. • School districts need lists by the first or second week in August to prepare notifications to families that they do not need to complete income eligibility applications based on their categorical eligibility for Food Stamps or TANF. Changes in Child Nutrition Program Law and Regulations Pennsylvania Department of Education, June 2005

  9. Current Challenges with Direct Certification in Pennsylvania • Students appearing on Direct Certification lists may be enrolled in a neighboring school district. • All students from the same family may not be included on Direct Certification lists. Changes in Child Nutrition Program Law and Regulations Pennsylvania Department of Education, June 2005

  10. PDE’s Response to these Challenges for School Year 2005 - 2006 • With the permission of USDA, DPW will now provide PDE with June rather than July Food Stamp and TANF participation data. • Direct Certification lists should be mailed to school districts by August 10th. Changes in Child Nutrition Program Law and Regulations Pennsylvania Department of Education, June 2005

  11. PDE’s Response to these Challenges for School Year 2005 - 2006 • The challenge of students appearing on the Direct Certification lists, who are not enrolled in the requesting school district, may continue. • The challenge of all students from the same family, not appearing on Direct Certification lists, may continue. Changes in Child Nutrition Program Law and Regulations Pennsylvania Department of Education, June 2005

  12. PDE’s Mid to Long-Term Response to Direct Certification Challenges COMPASS www.compass.state.pa.us Changes in Child Nutrition Program Law and Regulations Pennsylvania Department of Education, June 2005

  13. COMPASS www.compass.state.pa.us • Provides opportunities for Pennsylvanians to apply for a wide variety of social programs including healthcare coverage, foods stamps and cash assistance (TANF) online. • Provides opportunity for the PA Department of Education to include the income eligibility application for free and reduced price meals in COMPASS. • Provides opportunity for families to apply for school meals benefits online in COMPASS. Changes in Child Nutrition Program Law and Regulations Pennsylvania Department of Education, June 2005

  14. Why COMPASS Will Benefit Sponsors of the National School Lunch Program • Schools will be able to access COMPASS for free and reduced meals income eligibility applications. • Schools will be able to access COMPASS for direct certification lists. • Schools will be able to access COMPASS to verify applications with food stamp or TANF case numbers. • Schools will be able to print out applications, direct certification lists, etc. Changes in Child Nutrition Program Law and Regulations Pennsylvania Department of Education, June 2005

  15. Timeline for Adding Free & Reduced Applications to COMPASS School Year 2004-05: PDE is working in partnership with the Department of Public Welfare, Deloitte Consulting and five school food service directors to develop method for schools to access COMPASS. ▫ Carol Gilbert, Hempfield S.D. ▫ Candy Hartranft, Conrad Weiser Area S.D. ▫ Joanne Kinsey, Allentown City S.D. ▫ David Lloyd, Harrisburg City S.D. ▫ Ann Ziobrowski, Chambersburg Area S.D. Changes in Child Nutrition Program Law and Regulations Pennsylvania Department of Education, June 2005

  16. Timeline for Adding Free & Reduced Applications to COMPASS • School Year 2005-06: • Ten to 15 school districts will be asked to pilot COMPASS; • Based on feedback, required changes will be made; and • Training will be provided as necessary. • School Year 2006-07: • All public and private school sponsors of the National School Lunch Program will utilize COMPASS for direct certification and verification purposes. Changes in Child Nutrition Program Law and Regulations Pennsylvania Department of Education, June 2005