Application for Educational Benefits

Dear Families,

Each year we ask families to complete a survey asking about household income levels to see if students qualify for the Free and Reduced School Lunch Program.  You may already know that if you fall within certain income guidelines your child qualifies for free or reduced lunch, but did you know that students eligible for the Free and Reduced Lunch Program earn the school additional income that has nothing to do with our food service program?

Higher percentages of free and reduced lunch counts bring schools additional Federal Title Revenue, Federal E-Rate Revenue (discounts on phone and internet services) and State Compensatory Revenue.  Today I am going to focus on State Compensatory Revenue because it is easier to identify and its uses are less restrictive than the other revenue sources mentioned.

Compensatory revenue is used for students who enroll in school who are under-prepared to learn at their age level.  State statutes allow schools a broad range of ways to spend compensatory revenue.  

Schools can spend compensatory funding on remedial instruction in reading, language arts, mathematics and other content areas including improvement of study skills.  It can fund additional teachers and teacher aides.  It can fund individual tutors, lower classroom sizes or a team teaching approach.  It can fund longer school days or weeks or summer school programs.  Compensatory revenue can fund programs to reduce truancy and encourage graduation.  It can fund health services, nutrition services, and provide funding to ensure a safe and secure learning environment.  It can fund staff developments to assist teachers and other personnel in identifying the needs of these students.  It can fund psychological services to determine the level of social and intellectual development.  It can also provide counseling services, guidance services and social work services.  Compensatory revenue can be used to fund materials and technology to provide alternative instruction.  It can be used to present instruction at different rates and to present instruction in a different method than initially used.  It can also be used to increase parental involvement and to develop and implement remedial plans for students.  

For the seven county area of Northeastern Minnesota, this additional Compensatory Revenue is between $229.12 and $6,529.92 per additional student eligible for free lunch and between $171.84 and $3,322.24 per additional student eligible for reduced lunch.  When you consider the other revenue sources mentioned above, this can add up to some serious revenue.  Our school’s numbers are:

EACH additional student eligible for free lunch would bring Willow River Area School the following compensatory revenue (by site):

Willow River Area Elementary 


Willow River Area Secondary


EACH additional student eligible for reduced lunch would bring Willow River Area School  the following compensatory revenue (by site):

Willow River Area Elementary 


Willow River Area Secondary


I know that providing this information makes some people uncomfortable.  I want to assure you that this information is not public.  It is used ONLY for the purposes of determining eligibility.  The number of students eligible is reported only as a total number, so no individual information is released.  Our lunch room process does not single out students eligible for free or reduced lunch.

We are required to do random income verification, but you are not required to submit pay stubs or income tax forms with your application. You would only need to provide this information if you are randomly selected.  

Applications must be turned into the district office by December 1, 2020 in order to be included in any revenue calculation.  

Please follow the link for the application form or complete it online in the JMC Parent Portal.  Families may also contact the district office at 218-372-3131 Ext. 114 or email Tara Prachar at for further information or an application form.

Thank you,

William L. Peel