schools and that has the legal authority to operate the school meals programs in those schools.

School year The school year straddles 2 calendar years, and official start and stop dates vary. Official statistics on the school meals programs typically cover the 9 months from September through May.

Verification A process required by each local education agency (LEA) that participates in the school meals programs and takes applications. The LEA is required to conduct an annual verification of 3 percent or 3,000 (whichever is smaller) of the applications approved and on file as of October 1 of the current school year, unless the state agency conducts the verification. The households that submitted the applications selected for verification are required to submit documentation of income for any point in time between the month prior to application and the time the household is required to provide income documentation. LEAs make at least one follow-up attempt with households that do not respond. The students in households that fail to provide the required documentation are removed from eligibility. Results of the outcomes of verification studies are reported annually on Form FNS-742.

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