FOOD SERVICE MANAGEMENT – MEAL CHARGES
The National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs are integral in ensuring that students have access to nutritious meals to support their academic success. It is also imperative to protect the financial stability of the School Nutrition Program (SNP), as well as individual school budgets.
The intent of this regulation is to establish division wide processes for the following:
- Handling of situations when students who have not been approved as free meal eligible have insufficient funds to pay for school meals
- Collection of unpaid meal charges and delinquent account debt
Communication of Charge Procedures to School Staff and Parents
The Deputy Superintendent, Director of Financial Services, and the Food Service Coordinator are responsible for implementing, monitoring, communicating with staff about this regulation.
The MPCS Regulation for charging meals will be posted on the Division Website and will be included in the “Free and Reduced Price Meal Application Packet” that is distributed to all households at the beginning of the school year and to the households of all students entering MPCS after that point.
- The meal charge regulation will be reviewed with all School Food Services managers and cashiers at in-services at the beginning of each school year.
- The meal charge regulation will be reviewed with school administration at the beginning of each school year.
- The meal charge regulation will be reviewed with all staff members at the opening faculty meeting in each building.
Procedures for Charging Meals
- Students who reach the cashier in the cafeteria without money for their meals will be allowed charging privileges. Students are only allowed to charge reimbursable meals. They are not permitted to charge snack items, additional servings, or second meals. All charged meals will be provided by the cafeteria and recorded in the computerized point of sale system.
- Adults will not be allowed to charge meals.
Notifying the Household of Low or Negative Balance in Student Food Service Accounts
Parents are encouraged to utilize www.MySchoolBucks.com, a website service available to parents to manage their student’s food service account. Parents can log in to the site to check their child’s lunch account balance, meal history, and make payments on their account with a credit card. They can also sign up to receive an email notification when their student’s account balance is low.
- Once a middle or high school student reaches a negative balance, the cafeteria cashier will inform the student to notify his/her parents/guardians. Elementary students will not be notified verbally at the point of sale.
- Once any student reaches a negative balance the student’s household will be notified with a daily automated phone call until the charges are paid in full.
- Food service managers at elementary schools will print weekly notices for parents for each student with a negative balance. They will be given to classroom teachers to give to students to take home in their Monday (MPE) or Friday (CES) folders.
- Food service managers at the middle and high school will print weekly notices for parents/guardians for each student with a negative balance of $20 or more. These notices will be mailed home. Any letters returned for change of address will be given to the Finance Department, to be researched, corrected and reissued.
- The Food Service Coordinator will send a letter to the parents/guardians of each student who reaches a negative balance of $75.00 or more. This letter will contain the amount of unpaid meal charges, a Free and Reduce Meal Application, notice of collection proceedings, and where to go for questions or assistance. Any letters returned for change of address will be sent to the Finance Department, researched, corrected and reissued.
Consequences to Households for Failure to Pay Charge Debt
- Students with unpaid meal balances will not be permitted to purchase tickets for school dances, including prom, until the debt is paid.
- Students with unpaid meal balances will not be permitted to participate in graduation activities.
- Consequences for repeat offenders will be determined on a case-by-case basis and may include the inability to participate in extracurricular activities.
Reimbursement for Bad Debt
Bad debt is defined as delinquent debt that is deemed uncollectible. Bad debt must be written off as an operating loss. Such a write-off is unallowable within the School Nutrition program and must be offset by funds from non-federal sources
- At year end, the Food Service Coordinator and the Director of Financial Services will evaluate all delinquent debt for conversion to bad debt.
- The Division will attempt to use PTA/PTO donations or other appropriate charitable donations to pay for bad debt. Remaining amounts will be charged to the School Division’s General Operating Fund.
Reference: 2 CFR Part 200 Section 143 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010
Adopted: October 16, 2017