Charging Meals in School (BP 3555)
Purpose/Goals: To establish consistent meal charging and collection procedures district
The goals of this procedure are:
- To maintain a positive experience for students during meal service.
- To treat all students with dignity and respect.
- To establish practices which are age-appropriate.
- To minimize meal charges and encourage parents to pre-pay for all meals.
- To promote parents’ responsibility for meal payments and self-responsibility of the student.
Payment in advance for meals enables the District to achieve these goals.
Emergency Meal Service:
The Board of Education acknowledges that on occasion, students may forget or lose meal money. In such cases, the child will be provided a meal and their meal account will be charged for that meal.
Evaluate Individual Circumstances:
When a student repeatedly comes to school without a meal from home or money to participate in the school meal program, school administrators should consider if circumstances in the home warrant contacting social workers or Child Protective Services. Frequent requests may indicate the family's need for free or reduced-price meals. If for any reason, parents decline to complete an eligibility application and the principal is aware that the student is eligible for free or reduced-price meals, the principal may complete an application on behalf of the student. Written justification must be made on the application as to the reason the student should be receiving free or reduced-price meals. (7 CFR 245.6 (d))
Pre-paid Meal System:
The school meal accounting system is a pre-paid system. Parents or guardians must deposit money into their child’s account before meals are served. Payments can be made daily, weekly, monthly, or annually. In addition to using cash and checks, parents can also pay online with their credit/debit cards. It is the parent’s responsibility to make sure that money is in the account or a home prepared meal is sent to school with their child.
Repayment for Meal Charges and Bad Checks:
Federal guidelines prohibit the Child Nutrition operation from writing off bad debts as a result of charged meals. Every effort will be made to collect for unpaid meals. Unpaid meal charges will result in the following:
- Automated telephone call home and an email will be sent to the parent (if email address is in system)
- In case of significant delinquent payments, a letter will be sent home from the Child Nutrition Department
Students with negative account balances can only purchase regular breakfast and lunch meals. À la carte (extra) items cannot be charged. Monies received from students with negative account balances must first be used to satisfy the negative balance. No change will be given back to students with negative account balances and any extra monies will be deposited into the student’s account. All meals eaten before a Free and Reduced-Price application is processed and approved are the responsibility of the parent/guardian and must be paid for as required by law. At the end of the school year, the amount of uncollected meal charges must be paid to the Child Nutrition fund/account from some other funding source. Uncollected meal charges should be handled the same as other school debt.
In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:
(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.