Meal Charge Policy

Eatonville School District Wellness Policy: Policy 6700 - Nutrition Health and Physical Fitness

Food Service Procedures Manual

Meal Counting and Claiming Procedures

PURPOSE

It is the goal of Eatonville School District to provide healthy meals to students every day to promote better learning in a manner that complies with federal and state regulations and maintains confidentiality for all students.

Our district closely manages our food service department to keep lunch and breakfast prices as low as possible for all students. It is important to understand that unpaid meal charges place a financial burden on our food service department. The purpose of this policy is to establish consistent meal account procedures throughout the district.

NO-CHARGE POLICY

Eatonville School District has a no-charge policy, which means that a student must have money in their account to purchase a lunch. If your student does not have sufficient funds to purchase a meal, the district may provide to them an alternate meal. (ex: cheese sandwich, milk, fruit and access to the salad bar) at a charge that corresponds with the students free, reduced or full charge status. A student will never be denied a meal because of an inability to pay.

Regular-Pay Students

A student who pays regular price for breakfast and/or lunch and falls into a negative balance status may be given an alternate meal (ex: cheese sandwich, milk, fruit and access to the salad bar). His or her account will still be charged the regular price. A la carte purchases or second meals will not be permitted to a student who has a negative balance.

Reduced Meal Benefit

A student who pays reduced price for breakfast and/or lunch and falls into a negative balance status may be given an alternate meal (ex: cheese sandwich, milk, fruit and access to the salad bar). His or her account will still be charged the reduced price. Second meals or a la carte purchases must be pre-paid. A la carte purchases or second meals will not be permitted to a student who has a negative balance. Meals must meet meal pattern requirements in order to be considered reimbursable. For example, if the student chooses milk only, it is not considered reimbursable and will be charged the current rate.

Free Meal Benefit

A student who qualifies for free breakfast and free lunch, either through the application process or through our McKinney Vento program, will be allowed one free breakfast and one free lunch per day. Any additional breakfasts, lunches or a la carte sales must be pre-paid. A la carte purchases or second meals will not be permitted to a student who has a negative balance. Meals must meet meal pattern requirements in order to be considered reimbursable. For example, if the student chooses milk only, it is not considered reimbursable and will be charged the current rate.

FREE & REDUCED MEALS

All families are encouraged to fill out a Free & Reduced Meal Application. Each household may submit one application. These applications are sent home with every student at the beginning of the school year, however, they are available all year in each school’s main office, in the District Office or on our website’s Food Services page. Applications are reviewed and eligibility determined according to national standards within 10 days or sooner. You are responsible for payment until you are approved.

Avoid unnecessary meal charges. You must fill out a new application each year. However, there is a grace period at the beginning of every school year in which your family retains its previous status of paid, free or reduced for 30 calendar days. If your family experiences a loss of income or increase in family size during the school year, you may and are encouraged to reapply.

If you would like assistance in filling out an application, you can call any one of our offices. We would gladly assist you.

Students may be eligible for one free or reduced breakfast and lunch per day, depending on eligibility status. Any second meals or a la carte items after that are charged at regular price and it is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to pay for those items. If the student only chooses milk, it is not considered reimbursable and will be charged the current rate.

NEGATIVE BALANCES

Eatonville School District’s Food Service Department is not for profit. When meal accounts are repeatedly or excessively overdrawn it places a hardship on the district. We ask that in fairness to all families and students that you maintain a positive meal account.

It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to ensure that their student’s account balance remains positive. We can no longer stamp hands as this creates shaming for the child.

Families will be notified of an outstanding negative balance once the negative balance reaches $5.00. Our staff and/or administration may rely on one or more of the following options to communicate this:

  • 1)Notification at check out
  • 2)Paper notice sent home with the student
  • 3)E-mail sent to the parent/guardian
  • 4)Robo-call or personal phone call from building staff
  • 5)Referral to the building administrator or counselor

DELINQUENT DEBT/COLLECTIONS

Unpaid meal charges are considered delinquent debt when payment is overdue, as defined by current State or local policies. Payment for a negative balance is due immediately. Reasonable efforts will be made to collect delinquent debt, up to and including a collections process consistent with current state and local policies. Delinquent debt carries over into the next school year, regardless if the student is still within the district.

PAYMENT

Meal payment options include cash, debit/credit or check at your child’s building or debit/credit on our district’s website. When sending payment to the building, be sure to include your student’s name and student id number. If you are paying for multiple students, please, indicate how you would like funds divided amongst the accounts. NSF checks will incur a $10 bank fee and you may be asked to bring your student’s account current with cash or money order/cashier’s check.

To manage and/or inquire on your student’s meal account balance you can click on ‘In Touch Online Payments’ on the main page of our website under ‘Useful Resources’ or go to Departments, Food Services and Student Accounts. This will take you to ‘Skyward Family Access’. If you don’t already have access to this feature, you can create your own login id and password (do not use a student’s login or guest feature as payments may not be appropriately applied). If you would like help with access to ‘Skyward Family Access’ you may contact your child’s building for instructions. There is no service charge for food service payments; however, it may take up to 24 hours for payments to post.

CONFIDENTIALITY

A student’s free, reduced, or paid status is confidential. It is the district’s policy that this information be kept confidential except on a need to know basis for processing application and/or payments. Discretion is used at all times during checkout in the cafeterias to maintain confidentiality of paid, free or reduced status and not cause embarrassment to any student.

OTHER INFORMATION

Refunds

Parents and/or guardians must submit written request (e-mail is ok) for refund of any money remaining in their student’s account or to transfer money to a sibling’s account. Unclaimed funds must be requested within one school year. Unclaimed funds become property of Eatonville School District.

Field Trips

If a meal is to be provided during a field trip, a meal form will be sent home at least 2 days in advance with the field trip permission form. Field trip meals are prepared in our cafeterias and meet the same meal requirements as school lunches. Students who qualify for free or reduced status have the same access pertaining to sack lunches.

Special Dietary Needs

All students with special dietary needs are required to have forms completed and signed by a recognized medical authority and returned to the school nurse with adequate notice to allow for special meal purchase, preparation, and state approval when applicable. All dietary needs will be fulfilled in regards to these forms and the child’s needs. These forms are the following: Dietary Prescription for Students with Disabilities, Dietary Prescriptions for Students without Disabilities, and a Medical non-disabling statement. A copy of special dietary needs is kept at the cafeteria to which it pertains. Please, contact your child’s building if you need assistance.

Graduating Seniors

Any seniors with negative meal account balances will not be given a diploma until their account is brought current.

Civil Rights

The District will follow USDA Food and Nutrition Civil Rights and non-discrimination policies.

Disclosures

Our no-charge meal policy may be updated annually or as needed. This policy will be sent to families annually at the beginning of each new school year, at the time of enrollment if a child is enrolling for the first time, or if a change in policy occurs.