It is NOYB how much I make - a rant

mattie_gtDecember 10, 2010

So, SS started a new school this year, and they've now sent home, for the sixth time, his application for a free or reduced price lunch. The problem is that it is based on household income, including mine. There is no way that he'll qualify, which is fine; we can afford his lunches and of course have been paying for them all along. However, they are becoming increasingly insistent that DH applies for it. I do understand their position as I'm aware that much school funding depends on the number of students eligible, so it is in the school's best interests to have as many kids on it as possible.

But. The application form includes all household income information, detailed by person, including mine. As far as I'm concerned they can kiss my [edited]. I'm not legally related to SS, and have no legal rights to anything to do with him, as we're all well aware. I also (despite BM's protestations) have no legal responsibilities towards him. Naturally I do pay for things for him (including his lunches) but I'll be damned if I'm going to send my income information off to God knows whom to apply for a free lunch for a child for whom I'm not legally responsible and who won't qualify anyway.

At the same time, on general principle, I won't lie about my income. DH has been sending back the application with a note attached that I won't divulge my financial information but that we will not qualify and are OK with that - and it's ignored. I'm going to call myself and have a feeling that I'm going to be told that it's not my place because he's not my child - ARGH!

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Screw them. Send it back with DH's information alone.

I don't care if it says household or not---you are right, how much you make does not matter. As far as the school lunch program is concerned, put DH's info and BM's info on there.

What a load of crap. I'm shocked they are pushing you to apply?!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 11:09AM
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I would have DH write a brief note, attach to form and send back. Simply put he has read the guidelines (they publish them you know) and he is aware of the program...thank-you very much for informing me again...and if the time arises that I feel my son would become qualified for said program blah blah.

They can't make him fill out the form. The can't make him (or you) provide any household financial information that they do do legally need. They do not need info if you do not plan on being considered for the program. End of story.

If this still does not get the message through the school's thick head then DH can make a quick call to your school board president and inform them that when and if they provide you with writen legal rights to obtain personal information you will give the paperwork to your lawyer for consideration.

They also can not make DH waive his right to apply for program later in the school year. Nope, can not. While DH may need want and/or need assistance currently he may suddenly find his household finances drastically altered say in three months from now.

Unless SS is currently on something like state aid or receiving a health and/or food card (which you are not but it usually does automatic qualify) the school district has no reason to push the 'fill out this form'.

The school may also be doing this in a generic manner. Is the form actually being addressed to DH and formally snail mailed to him? Is it being done in a 'you MUST do this' manner? You might be getting these as a routine 'for your information' as things do happen and some people either or not aware of programs and/or are afraid to file for them.

But, yeah, if Dh ever did file for a free or reduced lunch program your information would have to be included as you are a source of income in the home. It's no different than when an entire household member info is required for any type of food card.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 11:34AM
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The form is addressed specifically to Parent or Guardian of [SS name]. I suspected that they were unhappy because paperwork was not completed - DH has been sending it back with a note which is just being ignored, and another mail merge letter comes back.

But, now I wonder. There was an issue a while ago where we suspected that BM had applied for welfare benefits and was counting SS8 (and I'm not sure how that works anyway, since she has partial custody, albeit very, very little, he may count as part of her household for welfare purposes).

If SS needed the lunches I would of course include my information.

What really gets me, though, is that in our state there is group health insurance available to all kids (there is both partially subsidized and parent-paid, but at a lower rate than market because it's a huge group plan). It is also available to all adults although then is a several year waiting list. However, we've learned in our ongoing quest for affordable health care, that kids can get on it right away, no matter what - and so can their parents. Not step-parents, of course, we have to wait our turn.

I only exist when someone wants me to pay, then suddenly I'm a quasi-parent. Huh. Actually I can't complain; first year I was married I was shocked to see how much money you save in taxes when you have a kid living with you. :-)

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 12:23PM
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The fact that the school insists on the application *at all* is disturbing;
unless the family is applying for something, there's no reason to cough up all that information.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 3:27PM
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That's weird. I get one application a year, I don't send it back....and they don't contact me again till the next year.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 4:50PM
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I never ever got any application from school, nobody ever told me to apply for free lunch, DD would certainly qualify but I never asked. It is weird they insist. No, don't send any info, in fact DH is not obligated to apply.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 4:55PM
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That is wierd that they keep sending you more forms! Think of how much money they waste copying, using envelopes, paying for stamps, etc because I am sure you are not the only family they hound!

We found out last school year bm was claiming the kids for welfare benefits because of the school free/reduced lunch program. Of course when I reported her umpteen times to the state for fraud they did nothing. They had someone call dh the first time and get copies of his court papers showing he had sole custody. The second time someone called me to verify information. But I don't think anything ever happened with it because we would have heard through the grapevine.

Gotta love our government....big deficits yet they refuse to stop welfare fraud when someone hands them a case! Makes me wonder why anyone in the US bothers working anymore!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2010 at 10:27PM
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I find it shocking that people actually get applications without asking for them. I guess it depends on a state or area that people live or schools they attend? I never ever got anything from school in regards to any free/reduced lunches. DD attended high school where there was ZERO number of kids on free/reduced lunch so maybe that's why we never got any application. But her middle school had few kids on free lunch, but still we got no applications from school.

I guess it is important for some schools to keep Title 1 status so they push for kids enrolling for free lunches.

My school has almost everyone on free/reduced lunch, yet to be honest with you many people are well off and kids are wearing clothes that my DD never dreamed to own (designer), most people lie to get free lunch for their kids, hide their incomes etc, and lunch is only 2.50 a day. And I know that our school is also pushing for kids to get free lunch.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2010 at 12:12PM
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No way would I give them the info either, and what pushy people, bordering rude!

Good to see people think exactly the same here. And yes I would call them myself to stop it once and for all, and they would probably call me an arrogant b&*$% after we hang up, but they would not send me any more applications I don't think! Pfff.

Could BM somehow be pushing for this in some scr*wed up way? I've heard of weirder things happen..

    Bookmark   December 12, 2010 at 2:12AM
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Ahhhhh, I think ParentOfOne has the answer - I looked up Title I funding. SS is in a city school, and they are (naturally) desperate for funding. (We also live in a state where the teachers' union is very strong, and the salaries are quite high based on the cost of living here - which cuts into available money as well.)

At any rate, apparently the Title I funding is distributed to all of the schools based on each one's eligibility, it looks like. Last year he was in the neighborhood elementary; where we live is nice enough but some areas which go to that school are not - so eligibility would not have been a problem. Now he is in an elementary that feeds from across the city and I think fewer kids at this school may be eligible, so they may be trying to get the numbers up to get "their share" of funding.

Well, now at least I can understand why we keep getting them - but I'm still not going to give them my income information! :-)

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 11:15AM
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I think it is the other way around mattie.

I live in the area with no Title 1 schools, I doubt schools with fewer eligible kids would even be trying to get eligibility status. It does not improve school's status. When I looked for school district for DD, I looked into schools with fewer number of free lunch kids and no Title 1 funding. Schools that have no free lunch kids, want to maintain that status. It attracts families. That's what everyone looks at. High SAT/ACT and state test scores, no free lunch kids, etc
Title 1 status does not attract families.

I work in a rather poor area and we receive Title 1 fundings and when parents enroll their kids office always asks: are your kids on free lunch, make sure you apply, here is application.

if your SS is in city school it explains it. City schools are always getting funds. they want to keep getting them.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2010 at 11:44AM
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The schools that receive Title 1 funds NEED that money. Why? To PAY for the kids who need free lunch! My DD goes to a Title 1 school. The way the district is set up the school happens to pull their demographics from one side of town, and we're right on the edge.

The principal is one of the most amazing men I have ever met. He's well educated and really cares about each child. He knows each child by name, as does the staff. Just so happens those kids do not have money for lunch. Their parents speak Spanish as a first language. These are BRIGHT children, just with a lack of English. Because they do not test high, the school is Title 1 to help them get up to state standards.

A lot of these kids do not have extra money for binders, etc. The school pays for all school supplies.

Mattie, that may be it, because even though DD's school is very much so a Title 1 school every year they really make an effort to test beyond that status. And they only send out one free lunch application a year, at the start of the year. I've never sent it back and they've never pushed the issue. But if your school is on the edge of getting the money, they may be pushing to get it for the kids who need it.

But I'm in California and we have a higher rate of ESL students and lower income students than most states. It's amazing, because when we moved here my DH said, "CA is really strange; there are really good neighborhoods right next to really bad neighborhoods." Where I'm from it's much more segregated. And indeed, that's how it is here. Directly behind our house the homes are selling for 1mil. Go one block past that and there's a house for sale for 60k. I could turn my hose on full blast and hit just about every price in the spectrum with the stream.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 9:55AM
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"But if your school is on the edge of getting the money, they may be pushing to get it for the kids who need it. "

That's what I was thinking; the school has kids from city-wide, is application-only followed by lottery of qualified applicants, and SS was really lucky to get in. There just happened to be enough free space in his grade - and his grade only.

His principal is great too; during the first open house before school started she was talking to everyone, and one of the students had a sibling with Down's Syndrome, who got away from his mom and decided to go talk to the principal in the middle of her talk. The principal stopped in the middle of her speech and knelt down to talk to the boy. The mom went to retrieve her son and kept trying to apologize to the principal, who kept telling mom there was nothing to apologize for, that it was not at all a problem. At the same time she's very strict in expecting everyone, teachers, staff and students, to do their absolute best.

Come to think of it; that may be why they keep re-sending the damned thing. The principal is a stickler for paperwork being filled out completely and correctly - no haphazard record-keeping in her school.

PO1, it's funny; my nieces are in a great school district - yet they are stuck doing the same stupid standardized testing and (to me) bizarrely designed lesson plans as SS.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 10:42AM
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Could be a glitch in the system too :)

    Bookmark   December 14, 2010 at 2:22PM
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