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Meal Program & Charges

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Meal Program and Charges

Meal Charges

The written meal charge policy and guidelines shall be in place before the beginning of each school year and parents shall be advised of the available payment systems and meal prices.  The district will encourage pre-payment of meal balances but the district must include a method for adding funds during the school day such as cash payments at the school office.  All balances remaining in accounts shall carry over to the next month.  Balances of households qualifying for free or reduced meals with funds remaining in the account at the end of the school year shall receive a refund.  The district shall attempt to contact the household of any student transferring out or graduating from the district to return any unused funds remaining in the student’s account.  The district may set varying meal charge guidelines for students of different grade levels including charges relating to alternate meals, ala carte items and limits on charges that a parent may set for a student’s daily lunch expenditures. 


School Meal Program and Meal Charges


Meal Program.  The school district will make a school meal program available to students.  The cost of the program will be determined by the board of education so as to make the program as nearly self-supporting as possible.  With board approval, the district may contract with a private company or corporation for the management and/or provision of the program. 


The district will notify the families with children attending school of the current guidelines for free or reduced-price school meals.  A copy of the complete regulations and procedures regarding reduced-price and free meals shall be available in the office of the superintendent.


Meal Charge Policy.  The district will notify students and their families of the policy for Charged Meals, meaning meals received by a student when the student does not have money in hand or in his or her food account.  This policy applies to students who receive meals at the free, reduced, or full rates. 


Notice of this policy must be provided in writing to all households at the start of each school year and to households that transfer to the school during the school year.  Notice may be provided through the student handbook, student registration materials, online portal used to access student accounts, direct mailing or e-mail, newsletter, the district website, and/or any other appropriate means.  Notice of this policy will also be provided all school staff responsible for the enforcement of it, including food service professionals responsible for collecting payment for meals at the point of service, staff involved in notifying families of low or negative balances, and other staff involved in enforcing any aspect of this policy.


The district’s policy on charged meals is:


If a student has no funds available to pay for a meal, the student will be provided and charged for up to five limited “courtesy meals,” such as a plain sandwich. Thereafter, if a student has no funds available to pay for a meal, no food will be provided.


Students who qualify for free meals will not be denied a reimbursable meal, even if they have accrued a negative balance from other food purchases.  School staff may prohibit any students from charging a la carte or extra items if they do not have cash in hand or their account has a negative balance. 


If a student repeatedly lacks funds to purchase a meal, has not brought a meal from home, and is not enrolled in a free meal program, the district will use its resources and contacts to protect the health and safety of the student. Failure or refusal of parents or guardians to provide meals for students may require mandatory reporting to child protection agencies as required by law.


Collection of Delinquent Meal Charge Debt


The school district is required to make reasonable efforts to collect unpaid meal charges.  The building principal or his or her designee will contact households about unpaid meal charges and notify them again of the availability of the free and reduced meal program and/or establish payment plans and due dates by telephone, e-mail, or other written or oral communication.  If these collection efforts are unsuccessful, the school district may pursue any other methods to collect delinquent debt as allowed by law.  

Collection efforts may continue into a new school year.


In the event that the Nebraska Department of Education develops a state-level meal charge policy, it shall supersede that portion of this policy.

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