Family Support Services
Our STEP program students have opened a Community Closet to provide free used clothing for families in need. We are ready to welcome families to come browse and take home items they need. All clothing items in the Community Closet are free. If you could benefit from this resource, please contact email@example.com to schedule a convenient time to visit.
The Community Closet is located at the STEP program center (in the former CLC building) at 200 4th St SW. Enter through door 7, on the back side of the building near 3rd Ave SW and 5th St SW in Forest Lake.
Save Receipts for School Supplies!
The Minnesota Department of Revenue offers two valuable tax benefits for parents who purchase school supplies for their K-12 students: the K-12 Education Credit and Subtraction.These benefits can reduce parents’ taxes to increase their refund, but are only available for those who keep their receipts. Purchases for most school supplies, field trips, and musical instruments for school band are eligible. Most Minnesota parents qualify for the K-12 subtraction, which reduces their taxable income. Parents under certain income limits may also qualify for the K-12 credit, which can refund up to 75% of their costs – even for parents who do not owe any taxes. For more details, visit www.revenue.state.mn.us and enter K12 in the Search box.
Minnesotans can now claim the Child Tax Credit, with no limit on the number of children claimed. You must file a 2023 individual income tax return in order to claim the credit. Most taxpayers who are eligible to claim the new Child Tax Credit are also eligible for free tax preparation assistance. Learn more about income requirements and qualifications on the Child Tax Credit webpage.
The tax credit of up to $1750 per child is estimated to cut child poverty by up to one third in Minnesota. Nearly 300,000 households including 513,000 children are estimated to qualify for the credit.
According to the McKinney-Vento Act, students and families experiencing homelessness are defined as lacking a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence, including students/families who are:
- Sharing the housing of others due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason
- Living in motels, hotels, or camp grounds due to the lack of alternative accommodations
- Are living in emergency or transitional shelters
- Living in a car, park, or public space
- Living in substandard or unsafe housing (lack of water or electricity, etc)
- Unaccompanied youth who are not in the physical custody of a parent or guardian
The McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act provides students experiencing homelessness and highly mobile students with certain rights so they have access to opportunities that will help them meet the same high academic standards expected of all students in our district, including:
- Immediate enrollment in school
- Transportation to the school they attended when they became homeless (school of origin)
- Access to academic services and family support resources
- Automatic qualification for reduced or waived programming fees
Reduced Activity Fees
Students may qualify for reduced activity fees, community education classes, musical instrument rentals, etc. for those who meet the income eligibility requirements. Factors considered in the application process are whether your family receives Minnesota Family Investment Income (MFIP) or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or your household size and total household income. Complete the application form online to see if you qualify.
The Ranger's Supporting Rangers Food Program is intended to assist families in the district who have a financial need by supplementing meals on weekends and during extended school breaks. Each participating student receives a weekend meal pack containing 2 light breakfasts, lunches, and snacks every Friday during the school year.
School Based Mental Health
In order to increase access to mental health services for students, the School Based Mental Health Program allows mental health agencies, with whom the district has an agreement, to provide mental health services to students within the school building during the school day.
Click here for resources and a printable brochure on School Based Mental Health or reach out to your school counselor or dean for more information.