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File: EFCA

 

MEAL CHARGING POLICY

 

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance on charging procedures for meals served at Georgetown Public Schools. Through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) the Georgetown School District is able to provide nourishing meals to students. However, unpaid account balances impose financial burden on the food services department and in return on the school district.  The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) regulations places this liability on the district at the end of each fiscal year and requires that School Food Service Authorities (SFA’s) be made whole for any outstanding debt remaining at the end of each school year. To minimize the impact that outstanding debt due to meal charges may have on the district, the following procedures will be implemented. The goals of this policy are to maintain the financial stability of the program, continuing to provide nutritious meals to students, encourage parents to take responsibility for all outstanding balances, and to treat all students in a consistent and respectful manner.

Payment Options

All students are expected to pay for their meals at the time of service or to pre-pay by either sending in a cash or check to the department or by paying through the town’s online payment system. School meals may be pre-paid on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

Items Available to Purchase on Account

At the elementary school level, students are able to purchase a breakfast, lunch or single milk using their account funds. There are no snack foods or a la carte items available for purchase using account funds.

At the middle and high school level, in addition to breakfast, lunch and milk, students are able to purchase a la carte items using their account funds. These items include but are not limited to snack foods, bottled water, 100% fruit juice, and select a la carte entrees.

Low-Balance Reminders

Students are reminded of low-balances at the point of sales. All parents may inquire about student account balances by contacting the Food Service Director at (978)-352-5779.

Notice of Negative Balances

At the elementary school level, students are sent home with negative balance letters at the end of each week. At the middle and high school levels students are reminded of negative balances at the point of service. In addition, parents are contacted periodically to notify them of negative balances.

Setting Account Limits

Students will not be denied a first meal at either breakfast or lunch however, parents may contact the Director of Food Services to place account limits on additional student purchases. No more than two lunches will be served to any one student.  If you do not wish for your student to purchase any meals from the Food Service Department, please contact the Food Service Director at 978-352-5779 to discuss accommodations.

Procedures on Charging Meals

1) Students Receiving Free/Reduced Price Meal Benefits

a) Students who are eligible to receive free meals may receive one complete breakfast and one complete lunch per day. In order to receive the free meal, students must take all required meal components. Extra meals or a la carte items can only be purchased if the student has funds on his or her account or presents payment at the point of sales.

b) Reduced price Breakfast and lunch cost $0.30 and $0.40 respectively. In order to receive the reduced price meal, students must take all required meal components. Extra meals or a la carte items can only be purchased if the student has funds on his or her account or presents payment at the point of sales.  If the student does not have adequate funds to purchase their meal at the point of purchase, their account will be charged for the full cost of that meal. They will be notified at the point of purchase that their account requires additional funds. Families will also be notified that their student’s balance is in the negative. Families with students who are eligible for reduced price meals that are still struggling to make payments are encouraged to contact the Director of Food Services at 978-352-5779.

2) All Other Students:

a) At the elementary level, all meal components are included at the point of service. At the middle and high school level, students may opt to decline some of the food offered however, all student meals must contain the required meal components. The meal components include: milk, meat/meat-alternate, fruit, vegetable and grains. Students must select 3 of the aforementioned meal components (one of which must be a serving of fruit or a serving of vegetable for the meal) to be considered complete at the point of purchase. If a student reaches the point of sale without all required components, they will be prompted to return to the service line to take the necessary meal component. If a student comes to the point of purchase with an extra meal, a la carte item and/or snack item and has a negative balance, they will be informed of the situation and will not be allowed to make the purchase.

b) Elementary students:  will be allowed to charge up to a maximum dollar equivalent of five (5) meals which will be known as the “account cap”.  When the student reaches the “account cap” they will only be offered a designated menu alternate.  Sample:  Cheese sandwich with veggie sticks, fruit and milk.  This designated menu alternate will be charged to the student’s lunch account at the standard lunch rate.  It will be reported as a meal to the state and federal school lunch authorities and thus will be eligible for reimbursement. Parents/Guardians are responsible for payment of these meals to the food service program.  For students in Grades 4 through 6, if funds are not collected, the student will receive the alternate lunch for up to 10 school days.  If full payment is not received by the end of the ten days, then the student will not be able to receive school meals.  The Food Service Department will notify the parent/guardian that they are responsible to provide the student with food while at school.

c) Middle/High School students:  will be allowed to charge up to a maximum dollar equivalent of three (3) meals which will be known as the “account cap”.  When the student reaches the “account cap”, they will only be offered a designated menu alternate.  Sample:  Cheese sandwich with veggie sticks, fruit and milk.  This designated menu alternate will be charged to the student’s lunch account at the standard lunch rate.  It will be reported as a meal to the state and federal school lunch authorities and thus will be eligible for reimbursement. Once the student reaches the maximum meal charge, no a la carte items will be sold to the student.   Parents/Guardians are responsible for payment of these meals to the food service program.  If funds are not collected, the student will receive the alternate lunch for up to ten (10) school days.  If full payment is not received by the end of the ten days, then the student will not be able to receive school meals.  The Food Service Department will notify the parent/guardian that they are responsible to provide the student with food while at school.

Balances Owed

Collection of Balances owed will follow the School Committee’s policy, Student Fees, Fines and Charges.  This will apply to any account balances above the “account cap” at any time and any payments made by check that are returned to the district by the bank with the notice of “insufficient funds”.  All accounts must be settled at the end of a school year. 

a)      Balances Owed with No Response by Parents/Guardian

If the payment is not received, the Superintendent or his/her designee may take one of more of the following actions, unless or until prohibited by state law or regulation:

 

1)      Prohibit participation of student or other students in the student’s household from participating in any future fee based program until or unless outstanding balances are resolved.

2)      Denial of participation in extra-curricular activities.

3)      Prohibit student participation in senior week activities or graduation exercises.

4)      Referral to small claims court and/or District Attorney’s Office.

5)      Any of the above actions may be appealed to the Superintendent of Schools.

 

 b)      Checks Returned for Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF)

When a check is returned to the Treasurer’s Office for “NSF”, a letter will be sent to inform the parent(s) from the Food Service Director.  Payment for the NSF check must be in the form of a cashier’s check or money order.  Payment must be received within ten (10) days of the date of the letter.  Any penalty fee will be made payable to the Town of Georgetown and sent to the Food Service Office. Second requests will follow M.G.L. Chapter 93, s40A.  Once the Town has received a NSF check from the bank, the parent will no longer be allowed to pay by personal check, only a cashier’s or money order will be accepted.

Adult Purchases

With exception of staff contractually entitled to daily meals, Staff and Faculty are expected to pay for all meals received from the school food service department. Staff and faculty may also purchase any of our individually priced items using funds on their accounts or cash at the point of sale. Staff will not be allowed to charge any food items that will cause their account to go into deficit balance.

Refunds

Withdrawn Students: For any student who is withdrawn, a written request for a refund of any money remaining in their account must be submitted. An e-mail request is also acceptable.

Graduating Students: For any student who is graduating, a written request for a refund of any money remaining in their account must be submitted. An e-mail request is also acceptable.

Funds can also be transferred to a sibling’s account with a written or verbal request.

Unclaimed Funds: All refunds must be requested within one year. Unclaimed funds will

then become the property of the Georgetown Public School Food Service Program.

 

LEGAL REFS:           M.G.L. 71, Section 72

                                    M.G.L. 93, Secton 40A

 

Adopted on:                January 22, 2015        

Revised on:                 August 25, 2016         

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