June 11, 2014
School Nutrition Program – Charge Policy
1. The School Nutrition Program is financed through federal and state funds as well as that amount of money that is charged to students and adults who participate in the program. It is intended to be self-sufficient without financial support from the general fund.
2. The purpose of this policy is to explain the following:
a. Process for notifying parents/guardians about money that is owed for student meals.
b. The procedures for providing meals if students’ accounts are delinquent.
c. The process to be used if notification of delinquent accounts is ignored.
1. Alternate Meal
a. A meal served to a student that is different than the meals served to other students on that day because the student does not have adequate funds in the student’s lunch account.
2. Charged Meal
a. A student is allowed to eat the same meal as other students are served when there aren’t adequate funds in their account with the understanding that the parent/guardian will pay for the meals at a later time.
3. Delinquent Account
a. A student’s lunch account that does not have adequate funds to cover the meal charges by the student or parent and there has been no agreement between the parent and school officials to resolve the issue.
a. A student’s parent, legal guardian, or person acting as the parent for school purposes.
5. Designated Day
a. A day in the week that has been established by the individual school to notify parents that a student’s account has a negative balance.
C. Parent/Student Notification at Each Individual Building Participating in the School Nutrition Program
1. The following information is to be communicated to parents at least two weeks before the beginning of a new school year:
a. A brief description of the school lunch program in the building.
b. A listing of the prices for breakfast and lunch.
c. Information regarding how parents may provide payment for meals.
d. Information regarding the process for qualifying for free or reduced meals including the process necessary to obtain an application.
e. Information regarding the steps that will be taken if their child’s account is determined to be delinquent.
f. Information regarding where parents can view a copy of this policy.
1) The information is to be communicated in a way that allows access to all families. If the information is posted on the school’s website, directions to that website are to be sent to families through the local newspaper, e-mail, text messages, and/or automated calling machines. Hard copies must be available for those who request that means of communication.
2. If the student’s family receives benefits from the Special Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Family Employment Program (FEP), or the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), they are automatically eligible for meals at no charge and are to be notified of such as soon as the school/district receives appropriate notification.
3. Schools will notify a parent (and student when deemed appropriate) on the day designated by the school on a weekly basis if the student has a negative balance in his/her account. Communication can be by any means deemed suitable by the school.
4. Schools will notify a parent (and student when deemed appropriate) on the day designated by the school if the student’s account is behind an amount equal to $20.00.
a. Notification may be by letter, phone, e-mail or text messaging. If a parent requests a specific method of communication, their request is to be honored.
b. A record of the contact should be maintained, including the date and the method used to make contact.
c. Unless payment arrangements have been made between the parent(s) and school officials, the school is authorized to begin serving an alternate lunch to the student. Parents are to be contacted, preferably personal contact, at least 48 hours before a student is given an alternative lunch. The student is to be contacted and provided instruction with regards to the procedures associated with the alternative lunch prior to the beginning of the lunch period.
5. Schools will notify the parent (and student when deemed appropriate) on the day designated by the school if the student’s account is behind an amount equal to $35.00 and thus considered delinquent. Unless payment arrangements have been made between the parent(s) and school officials, the school is authorized to send the account to collections following the procedures outlined in D-5 of this policy. Parents are to be contacted, preferably personal contact, although certified letter is acceptable, of the intent to send the account to collections. A persistent effort to communicate with parents prior to sending the account to collections is required as noted above (C-3, C-4, C-5).
D. Delinquent Accounts
1. Elementary school children are to be provided an alternative lunch following the procedures identified in C-4 of this policy. The alternative lunch should be continued until their account is paid in full or payment arrangements are made by a school official after gaining approval from the School Lunch Supervisor. Any cost associated with the alternative lunch is to be added to the student’s account.
2. Secondary students are to be provided an alternative lunch following the procedures identified in C-4 of this policy. The alternative lunch should be continued until their account is paid in full, payment arrangements are made or the account is sent to collections. Any cost associated with the alternative lunch is to be added to the student’s account.
3. A secondary student in grades 6-12 may be denied lunch once their account has been sent to collections or anytime during the month of May that their account has a negative balance. Lunch is to be denied until the account is paid in full or payment arrangements are made with a school official after gaining approval from the School Lunch Supervisor. Students may continue to purchase meals if they are able to pay cash. Students must be notified 24 hours in advance before being denied a lunch.
4. Secondary students who, after being given notification prior to lunch, decide to take a regular meal instead of an alternative meal are subject to appropriate discipline by school administrators. The meal is not to be taken away from the student.
5. After a period of at least two weeks following parental notification either by personal contact or certified letter, the delinquent account may be sent to a collection agency.
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