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Access to School Meals in Publicly Funded Out-of-District Programs


This Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education memorandum confirms that Section 504 requires school districts to assure that students whom they place in private schools due to their disabilities must be offered school meals to the same extent that they would be offered school meals in their public schools

From the introduction:  "This memorandum addresses a question that has been raised concerning the responsibility of Massachusetts school districts and approved private special education schools to have school meals available to students with disabilities who have been placed in out-of-district programs at public expense. As explained below, consistent with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and G.L. c. 69, §1C, sending school districts and approved private special education schools must collaborate to make breakfast and lunch available to publicly-funded students with disabilities if they would have had access to such meals in their sending district. Also, if a student is eligible for free or reduced price meal benefits, that benefit must be available to the student while the student attends the approved private special education school. Districts are required to communicate with out-of-district programs whenever a student is determined to be eligible for a free or reduced price breakfast and/or lunch and/or whenever a student's eligibility status for school meals changes."

Click the "Go to Website" link below to download the memorandum from DESE's website.