The district is committed to ensuring that all students receive the nutrition they need to engage in active learning during the school day. In accordance with applicable federal guidance from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), this policy is intended to serve the purposes of meeting student needs, minimizing the identification of students with insufficient funds to pay for school meals and maintaining the fiscal integrity of the district's school food service account.
Student meal accounts and meal charges
Student meal accounts shall be established by the district.
Parents will be encouraged to pre-pay for students paying full or reduced price for meals. The district shall ensure that parents have access to at least one no-cost method of paying for meal services, such as the ability to pay in person.
Students will be permitted to pay for meals and/or add funds to student accounts on the day of service. Students will be permitted to pay for a la carte items on a cash only basis at the point of sale.
If a student has money to purchase a full or reduced price meal at the time of the meal service, the student must be provided a meal. The student's money may not be used to repay previously unpaid charges if the student intended to use the money to purchase that day's meal.
A meal account balance remains with the student until the student is no longer enrolled in the district. Students with unused credit in their accounts at the point of dis-enrollment or graduation will receive a refund in the amount of the credit.
Students paying full or reduced price for meals and who do not have money in their account or in hand to cover the cost of a meal at the time of service will be permitted to charge a meal.
Notification of low or negative balances
Awareness of a low balance on a student account is the responsibility of the parent and/or guardian. Parents and/or guardians may obtain student lunch balances via online payment system or by calling the school office. Parents will be reminded of this policy and the process for submitting applications for free and reduced price meal benefits and the process for obtaining lunch balance information through our online system. Parents will also be notified that any school meal debt accrued prior to the district's determination that the student is eligible for free and reduced lunch remains the parent's responsibility.
Collection of meal charge debt
In collecting debt, the district shall ensure that collection efforts do not have a negative impact on the students involved and instead focus on the adult(s) in the household responsible for providing funds for student meal purchases. The district will work with parents to establish repayment plans with payment levels and due dates appropriate to the household's particular circumstances.
For students with delinquent meal charges, the following process will be used to collect debt. Correspondence home will increase in frequency after the negative $75.00 threshold has been met via the above listed methods. Collection efforts from one school year may continue into the following school year, including when students transfer to a school outside of the district.
The district shall notify students and their parents about this policy at the beginning of each school year. Notification shall also be provided to those students who transfer into the district during the school year. Information about this policy may also be included in student handbooks, student enrollment or registration packets and/or back-to-school packets and posted on district and school websites.
This policy will also be communicated to school and district-level staff responsible for this policy's enforcement, such as school food service staff responsible for collecting payment for meals at the point of service, staff involved in notifying families of low or negative balances, and staff involved in enforcing any other aspects of this policy.
LEGAL REF.: USDA Guidance SP 46-2016 (requires written policy regarding unpaid meal charges)
First Reading: July 21, 2020
Second Reading: August 18, 2020
Final Reading: September 15, 2020 (Approved)