Policies and Regulations NEPN Code: EFD-R

Support Services
Pricing and Payment of Food Services

Student Meal Charging and Negative Balances

  1. School Meal Payments
    1. Meal purchasing procedure:
      1. Parents/guardians are expected to manage school meal accounts and deposit funds to assure students can purchase meals.
      2. Meals can be purchased with cash, by check, or direct deposit.
      3. The District will contract with a vendor to provide online direct deposits either by ACH or credit/debit cards. Fees will apply to credit/debit cards.
      4. Free and Reduced Meal Applications shall be made available at each school or by contacting the Child Nutrition Office. If determined eligible, the free or reduced meals start the day the application was processed in the Child Nutrition Office.
    2. Certain qualifying District sites participate in the Community Eligibility program where all students are eligible for free breakfast and lunch.
  2. Notification of Low Funds
    1. Parents/guardians will receive a copy of this meal charging regulation at the beginning of each school year or upon registration if enrolling during the school year.
    2. Low funds are defined as any balance with less than five (5) meals.
    3. Parents/guardians will be notified weekly of low fund balances.
    4. Letters shall be placed in backpacks at elementary schools and mailed to secondary school parents/guardians.
    5. The District will develop automatic emails and calls, which may replace letters after development and testing. Parents/guardians will always be able to request a written letter if technology is not available or convenient to them.
  3. Notification of Negative Balances
    1. Parents/guardians of a student with a negative balance will receive written notification on the first day.
    2. Secondary students will be allowed to charge up to five meals and will be notified verbally each day that the account has a negative balance.
    3. Parents/guardians whose child’s account has reached the five (5) meal limit will receive written notification.
  4. Alternate Meals
    1. If five (5) lunch meals or equivalents have been charged, an alternate snack that meets Smart Snack guidelines will be made available for the student and charged to the student’s account based on the food cost.
    2. Alternate snacks will be offered for fifteen (15) days. This will be for both breakfast and lunch.
    3. Students exceeding these limits can pay cash or bring their own sack lunch.
    4. Meals cannot be charged on accounts with a negative balance in excess of the limits prescribed in this regulation until an attempt has been made for payment or a payment plan is set up with the parent/guardian. A payment plan shall, at a minimum, reduce the negative balance weekly by 5% or $2, whichever is more.
  5. Free and Reduced Meal Charges
    1. Students who have applied and are approved for free or reduced meals are eligible the day the application has been approved. Prior charges are the responsibility of the student or parent/guardian.
    2. All ala carte items or second milks are the student, parent(s)/guardian(s) responsibility. There is no free or reduced milk.
  6. Carry Over of Balances
    1. A student who ends the year with a positive or negative balance will start the next school year with the same balance unless it changed over the summer.
  7. Debt Collection
    1. Student debt in excess of ten (10) meal equivalents will be turned over to the District’s debt collection vendor at the end of the school year. The debt will remain on the student’s account until paid in full. The cost of debt collection shall be charged to the Food Service Fund.
    2. The debt of a student who has exited the District will be written off as bad debt after 365 days.
    3. Bad debt shall be reimbursed to the Food Service Fund either by the General Fund or from sales of ala carte meals.
  8. Donated Funds
    1. Funds donated on behalf of a student shall not be eligible for a donation letter.
    2. Funds donated generally to a school building to assist with negative school lunch balances shall be eligible for a donation letter in accordance with KCD/KCD-R and applied in order as follows:
      1. Negative balances due to extraordinary family circumstances as determined by the principal; and
      2. Any remaining funds shall be focused solely on reducing balances in excess of five (5) meal equivalents at the time of the dispersal down toward five (5) meal equivalents with such funds going to the most individuals possible.
    3. Funds donated generally to the School Lunch Program shall be prorated to elementary schools based on their total negative fund balance.
    4. When determined appropriate by the Superintendent, or Designee, alternative donation plans may be approved based on the donor’s specifications. Such donations must comply with the other polices and regulations of the District.


Legal Reference:

13-35-2 Charges for meals
13-35-4 Cost accounting system


Policy   Board Action
Approved 06-12-17 37787
Revised 01-22-18 37945