11007 - School Meals Charges
A. Purpose and Background
1. National School Lunch, Breakfast, Special (Kindergarten) Milk, are federal programs in which this school participates. Pricing policies for school meals are determined at the local level, including decisions about whether or not to extend credit to parents who do not have meal money in their students’ accounts.
2. If students qualify for free or reduced-price school lunch, their meals are reimbursed in whole or in part with federal funds. Otherwise, the meal reimbursement is minimal and parents are expected to pay for their student(s’) meals. Schools shall adopt policies which minimize unpaid accounts and ensure students are not subject to punishment or stigmatization when parents fail to make school meal payments.
3. Piute County School District shall notify parents/guardians about: money owed for student meals, school’s procedures for providing meals if students’ accounts are delinquent, and to assure and remind parents and school employees that students shall never be confronted or embarrassed about money owed for school meals.
4. Piute County School District, participates in the National School Lunch, Breakfast, Special (Kindergarten) Milk Programs. The policy is informative for parents whose students participate in the National School Lunch Program. The scope includes requirements and direction for delinquent meal accounts.
B. Payments and School Verification
1. A school must verify at some point in each student’s meal service, that the meal is reimbursable or non-reimbursable. Returning students are given 30 days from the beginning of school with the previous years lunch application until the current year can be completed and verified of new eligibilities. New students are required to pay for meals until verification can be completed.
2. A school shall credit meal payments from parents to the student’s account before the meal period. This assures all funds are accurately applied to meal accounts in advance of students selecting school meals. Schools shall apply payments to the purchase of the current day’s meal first, and the payment of past-due accounts second.
3. If a student/family qualifies for free meals, no payments are due.
4. If a family qualifies for reduced-price meals, the school shall charge no more than $.40 for lunch or $.30 for breakfast.
5. Parent payment options for student meals may include:
a) Parents may use an automated payment system, if available, to make payments for students’ meals. Parents may make on-line payments, using debit or credit cards, for one or all of their students, allocating the funds to individual students’ accounts. The school may add additional fees for the use of a credit card and shall notify parents of added fees.
b) Parents may make payments to the school by mail or hand delivery. Payments shall clearly indicate the account to which the funds shall be credited (student’s name and amount, if several students attend the school). The school shall indicate if the school accepts checks, money orders and/or cash.
C. Identification of Delinquent Accounts
1. Schools shall identify family or student accounts that do not have adequate balances to pay for student meals. Schools shall identify these accounts weekly and notify parents. The school shall contact parents, as parents have directed, on the automated meal payment system, or by phone, text or e- mail, to allow parents to indicate how they wish to make payments. Schools may ask students to take notifications addressed to the parent home with them.
2. The student shall be contacted in advance of the meal service, if the school does not have payment from the parents, to tell the student what action the school shall take. The school shall take such actions as discretely and sensitively as possible so as not to embarrass the student.
3. The school may use any of the following options (or other reasonable options) for student meals if a student’s meal account is inadequate:
a) Student may bring a sack meal from home.
b) Schools may continue to provide full meals to elementary students and notify parents that the school shall use collection efforts to pay for meals. Schools shall maintain documentation of parent notice.
c) Students in secondary schools shall be told at point of service they are in the negative and will allowed that days meals but needs to provide payment before any other meals will be offered.
d) Schools may notify parents that the school shall offer elementary students whose accounts are with an negative balance with 5 meals giving parents time to make arrangements for payments. The school shall maintain documentation of parent notice. A limited total of 5 meals will be allowed for the whole school year.
e) The school is not required to provide a meal at no cost if a student does not qualify for a free meal.
f) The school shall provide notice to parents at designated times during the school year of the school’s policy for providing meals to students when accounts are delinquent or when their account balance is at $5.00 amount. The Piute County School District shall comply with all applicable state and federal laws in providing meals to students and in notifying parents.
D. Delinquent Balances and School Procedures
1. Schools shall notify parents of students with delinquent balances in their school lunch accounts by such methods as:
a) telephone conversation with the parent
b) e-mail or phone text to the parent
c) written notice sent to the parent by mail or carried home by the student in a sealed envelope
d) automated school lunch payment system
2. The school may complete an application for free/reduced-price meals on behalf of the parents, if school personnel have knowledge of the parent’s financial circumstances and parents give permission. The school shall notify parents that an application has been completed on their behalf (“Eligibility Manual for School Meals,” August, 2013, pg. 36).
3. If a student repeatedly has no money in the student’s school lunch account and no student meals are provided from home, school officials shall consider the circumstances in the home (e.g., potential abuse or neglect, homelessness, etc.) and may contact the Piute School districts social worker and/or Child Protective Services.
4. Schools may use collection agencies to collect on delinquent accounts.