EFD: Meal Charge Policy
To ensure compliance with federal reporting requirements of the USDA Child Nutrition Program as well as provide oversight and accountability for the collection of outstanding student meal balances, the provisions of this policy pertain to regular priced school meals only. Food services is a self-supporting entity within the district. However, unpaid meal charges financially impact the district.
Meal Charges and Balances
Students will pay for meals at the rate approved by the School Committee or, when applicable, at the free/reduced rate. In extenuating circumstances, the district will provide a regular meal to students who forget or lose their lunch money. Payment options will be delineated in student handbooks and provided to parents/guardians of incoming students. After students deplete the balance, students will be allowed to take a meal, and that meal will be charged to the account. The parent/guardian is responsible for any meal charges incurred. If there is a financial hardship, a parent/guardian should contact the Director of Food Services to discuss payment options such as an individualized repayment plan or complete an application for free/reduced meal access.
Parents/Guardians are responsible for all meal payments to the food service program. Notices of low or deficit balances will be sent directly to parent/guardians via email or regular postal mail at regular intervals during the school year. At no time shall any staff member give payment notices to students unless that student is known to be an emancipated minor who is fully responsible for themselves or over the age of 18. If parents/guardians have issues with student purchases they should contact the Director of Food Services for assistance.
Parents/Guardians are encouraged to pay for meals in advance through the online payment program system Further details are available on the school district webpage and in student handbooks. Funds should be maintained in accounts to minimize the possibility that a child may be without meal money on any given day. Any remaining funds for a particular student will be carried over to the next school year. Negative balances are expected to be paid in full at the conclusion of the school year and will be collected by the Director of Food Services.
All school cafeterias use computerized point of sale systems that maintain records of all monies deposited and spent for each student and those records are available to parents/guardians by setting up an online account or by speaking with the Director of Food Services.
Withdrawn and/or graduating students must submit a written request (email, postal, or in person) for a refund of any money remaining in their account. Graduating students also have the option to transfer funds to a sibling’s account or to donate to a student in need with a written request.
LEGAL REFS: MGL 71:72; USDA School Meal Program Guidelines May 2017
CROSS REFS: JQ, Student Fees, Fines & Charges