In accordance with state and federal law, the District adopts the following policy to ensure District employees, families, and students have a shared understanding of expectations regarding meal charges. The policy seeks to allow students to receive the nutrition they need to stay focused during the school day, prevent the overt identification of students with insufficient funds to pay for school meals, and maintain the financial integrity of the non-profit school nutrition program.
Payment of Meals
The District encourages parents and guardians to keep meal account balances current. Parents may deposit money in their family’s school lunch account at the school office or online. The District does understand that there can be extenuating circumstances and encourages the parent/guardian to contact the District to make payment arrangements should the need arise.
When the balance reaches $0.00 a student may no longer purchase a la carte items and can charge no more than $100.00 to this account for meals. When an account reaches this limit, a student in grades 7-12 shall not be allowed to charge further meals until the negative account balance is paid. Staff are not allowed to charge meals or have a negative balance.
Students who qualify for free meals shall never be denied a reimbursable meal, even if they have accrued a negative balance from previous purchases. Schools are encouraged to provide a reimbursable meal to students with outstanding meal charge debt. If an alternate meal is provided, the meal must be the same meal presented in the same manner to any student requesting an alternate meal.
Negative Account Balances
The District will make reasonable efforts to notify families when meal account balances are low. Additionally, the District will make reasonable efforts to collect unpaid meal charges classified as delinquent debt. The District will coordinate communications with the student’s parent or guardian to resolve the matter of unpaid charges. Parents or guardians will be notified of an outstanding negative balance once the student owes five meals or more. Parents or guardians will be notified by letter. Negative balances of more than
$100, not paid prior to the end of the semester will be turned over to the Superintendent or designee for collection. Options may include: collection agencies, small claims court, or any other legal method permitted by law.
Unpaid Student Meals Account
The District will establish an unpaid student meals account in a school nutrition fund. Funds from private sources and funds from the District flexibility account may be deposited into the unpaid school meals account in accordance with law. Funds deposited into this account shall be used only to pay individual student meal debt.
Communication of the Policy
The policy and supporting information regarding meal charges shall be provided in writing to:
- All households at or before the start of each school year;
- Students and families who transfer into the district, at time of transfer; and
- All staff responsible for enforcing any aspect of the policy.
Records of how and when the policy and supporting information was communicated to households and staff will be retained.
REVIEWED: 11/18/2019 - APPROVED 12/03/2019
REVISED: 11/21/2022 - APPROVED: 12/19/2022