SAMPLE SOLUTION #5: Opt Out Box
(This is just a sample, posted by USDA to generate discussion.)
No matter how hard my staff and I tried to get households to respond to verification requests, the results were always the same: a majority did not respond. We tried everything to change this. Making phone calls home after 5:00 pm; emailing households; sending letters home with students; starting the verification process as early in the year as possible – you name it, we tried it. And you know what? None of these helped much. Because of our high non-response rates to verification, my SFA had to attend extra training on verification and had to submit plans to our SA on how we were going to improve our response rates. Putting these plans together was time consuming for my staff and, honestly, not very productive. So we developed a verification notice with an opt-out box that allows households to indicate that they are not going to respond to verification. This saves district staff time, the household does not get repeated follow-up letters and phone calls, and we can count a household opting-out as a response for verification. The opt-out box has increased our response rates and removed us from the State’s list of verification underachievers. That’s a win for parents (less hassle); a win for district staff (less wasted time); and a win for the program (more efficient). Give it a shot if you feel like you’ve tried everything else but can’t get your response rates to budge.