Portsmouth School Nutrition Department 1 Junkins Avenue, Suite 402 Portsmouth, NH 03801 Tel: (603) 436-0443 Fax: (603) 431-6753
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Nutrition Department,
1 Junkins Avenue, Suite 402
Portsmouth, NH 03801
603-431-6753 Fax

Deborah Riso
School Nutrition Director

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Elementary   $1.50 / $7.50 

$2.50 / $12.50

Middle School $1.75/ $8.75   

$3.00 / $15.00

High School $1.75/ $8.75 

$3.25/ $16.25


Dear Parent/Guardian:

Children need healthy meals to learn. The Portsmouth School District offers healthy meals every school day. Breakfast costs are $1.50 in the elementary schools and $1.75 in Middle and High School. Lunch costs are $2.50 Elementary, $3.00 Middle School and $3.25 High School. Your children may qualify for free meals or for reduced price meals. Reduced price is Free for breakfast and $.40 for lunch. Below are some common questions and answers to aid in the process of determining your child's eligibility.

  1. Do I need to fill out an application for each child? No. Use one Free and Reduced Price School Meals Application for all students in your household. We cannot approve an application that is not complete, so be sure to fill out all required information. Return the completed application to: Deborah Riso, Nutrition Director, at Portsmouth School Department, 1 Junkins Ave, 4th Floor, Portsmouth NH 03801
  2. Who can get free meals? All children in households receiving benefits from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), can get free meals regardless of your income. Also, your children can get free meals if your household's gross income is within the free limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines.

MC900411244[1]If you have received a NOTICE OF DIRECT CERTIFICATION for free meals, do not complete the application. Please let the Nutrition Department (436-0443 or 610-4474) know if any children in your household are not listed on the Notice of Direct Certification letter you received.

  1. CAN FOSTER CHILDREN GET FREE MEALS? Yes, foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court, are eligible for free meals.


  1. Can homeless, runaway, HEAD START and migrant children get free meals? Yes, children who meet the definition of homeless, runaway, or migrant are eligible for free meals. If you believe children in your household meet these descriptions and haven't been told your children will get free meals, please call Joanne Simons, Homeless Liaison at 431-5080 or e-mail her at jsimons@portsmouth.k12.nh.us.
  2. WHO CAN GET REDUCED PRICE MEALS? Your children can get reduced price meals if your household income is within the reduced price limits on the Federal Eligibility Income Chart, shown on this application.
  3. SHOULD I FILL OUT AN APPLICATION IF I RECEIVED A LETTER THIS SCHOOL YEAR SAYING MY CHILDREN ARE APPROVED FOR FREE MEALS? A new application needs to be filled out each year unless you have received a NOTICE OF DIRECT CERTIFICATION but please read the letter you got carefully making sure it is for the upcoming school year and follow the instructions.  Call the Nutrition Department at 436-0443 or 610-4474 if you have questions.
  4. MY CHILD'S APPLICATION WAS APPROVED LAST YEAR. DO I NEED TO FILL OUT A NEW ONE? Yes. Your child's application is only good for that school year and for the first few days of this school year. You must send in a new application unless the school told you that your child is eligible for the new school year.
  5. I GET WIC. CAN MY CHILDREN GET FREE MEALS? Children in households participating in WIC may be eligible for free or reduced price meals. Please send in an application.
  6. Will the information I give be checked? Yes and we may also ask you to send written proof.
  7. If I don't qualify now, may I apply later? Yes, you may apply at any time during the school year. For example, children with a parent or guardian who becomes unemployed may become eligible for free and reduced price meals if the household income drops below the income limit.
  8. What if I disagree with the school's decision about my application? You should talk to school officials. You also may ask for a hearing by calling or writing to: Stephen Bartlett, Business Administrator, Portsmouth School Department, 1 Junkins Ave, 4th Floor, Portsmouth NH 03801, at 436-5080 or email him at  sbartlett@portsmouth.k12.nh.us.
  9. May I apply if someone in my household is not a U.S. citizen? Yes. You or your children do not have to be U.S. citizens to qualify for free or reduced price meals.
  10. Who should I include as members of my household? You must include all people living in your household, related or not (such as grandparents, other relatives, or friends) who share income and expenses. You must include yourself and all children living with you. If you live with other people who are economically independent (for example, people who you do not support, who do not share income with you or your children, and who pay a pro-rated share of expenses), do not include them.
  11. What if my income is not always the same? List the amount that you normally receive. For example, if you normally make $1000 each month, but you missed some work last month and only made $900, put down that you made $1000 per month. If you normally get overtime, include it, but do not include it if you only work overtime sometimes. If you have lost a job or had your hours or wages reduced, use your current income.
  12. We are in the military. do we include our housing allowance as income? If you get an off-base housing allowance, it must be included as income. However, if your housing is part of the Military Housing Privatization Initiative, do not include your housing allowance as income.
  13. My spouse is deployed to a combat zone. is her combat pay counted as income?  No, if the combat pay is received in addition to her basic pay because of her deployment and it wasn't received before she was deployed, combat pay is not counted as income. Contact your child's school for more information.
  14. My family needs more help. Are there other programs we might apply for? To find out how to apply for SNAP or other assistance benefits, contact your local assistance office or call 610-7267 or 610-7260.

If you have other questions or need help, call 436-0443


Deborah Riso, Nutrition Director
Portsmouth School Department


New Hampshire SAU data reveals that for every 100 students eating school lunch, an average of 22 students participate in school breakfast. Portsmouth offers free breakfast to everyone who qualifies for a free or reduced lunch.

New Hampshire ranks 50th nationally for student participation in the School Breakfast.
Expanding and strengthening these existing School Breakfast Programs offer measurable benefits to both students and SAUs.

Benefits of Breakfast

  • Eating breakfast can help improve math, reading, and standardized test scores.

  • Children who eat breakfast are more likely to behave better in school and get along with their peers than those who do not.

  • Breakfast helps children pay attention, perform problem-solving tasks, and improves memory.

  • Children who eat school breakfast are likely to have fewer absences and incidents of tardiness than those who do not.

  • By eating breakfast, students get more of important nutrients, vitamins and minerals such as calcium, dietary fiber, folate and protein.

  • Studies have shown that children who eat breakfast on a regular basis are less likely to be overweight.

  • Eating breakfast as a child is important for establishing healthy habits for later in life.

  • Schools that provide breakfast in the classroom to all students have shown decreases in tardiness and suspensions as well as improved student behavior and attentiveness.

  • What you eat for breakfast can have an impact on learning. One study showed that eating breakfast food high in fiber and low in sugar for breakfast helped students sustain the cognitive effects of breakfast.

  • School Breakfast provides daily servings of fruit, whole grains, and milk, plus roughly ¼ the recommended calories needed for lasting energy.


Portsmouth School Nutrition Department is affiliated with several organizations that each offer continued networking with colleagues, skill development tools for employees and professional certifications. In addition the Nutrition Department aligns themselves with several buying groups (NH buying group, NH farm to school and federal commodities) to maintain a competitive edge in purchasing power. For more information on the associations just click on the below links to navigate their sites.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual's income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)

If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information  requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202)690-7442, or email at program.intake@usda.gov.

Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish).

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

August 2014

Portsmouth School Nutrition Department
1 Junkins Avenue, Suite 402
Portsmouth, NH 03801
Tel: (603) 436-0443
Fax: (603)431-6753

Deb Riso
School Nutrition Director
Tel: (603) 436-0443

Paula McCarthy
Little Harbour School
Tel: (603) 431-4831

Joanne Curtis
New Franklin School
Tel: (603) 436-8133


Michelle Parker
Portsmouth High School
Tel: (603) 431-4185

Paula Slattery
Dondero School
Tel: (603) 431-5065

Kirsten Stallkamp
Portsmouth Middle School
Tel: (603) 431-4835