Nutrition Services » Meal Charge Standard Practice

Meal Charge Standard Practice



The purpose of this practice is to establish consistent meal charging and collection procedures for families, students, school administrators and Nutrition Service staff. Through the implementation of this policy, the Nutrition Services program can continue its mission of providing a variety of healthy meals for all students and operating in a self-sufficient manner, wholly separate from the district’s general fund.

The goals of these procedures are:

  • To maintain a positive experience for our students during meal service
  • To treat all students with dignity and respect
  • To promote parent/guardian responsibility of meal payments and self-responsibility for students
  • To encourage parents to pre-pay for all meals and minimize meal charges
  • To establish age-appropriate practices


Payment Methods

We strongly encourage prepayments (weekly, monthly or yearly) to be made on student meal accounts as this helps reduce the amount of time spent in line. Lunch meal prices are $2.75 and $0.40 students eligible for reduced prices, and can easily be made:

  1. Online at
  2. School office via payment lock box – complete a meal payment envelopes
  3. Cafeteria

A fee will be charged for all returned checks and could result in a “cash-only” payment schedule.


It is the parent’s/guardian’s responsibility to provide the money for  the child or children to purchase a school meal, complete the free/reduced meal application to determine if they are eligible from free or reduced price meals, or send a meal from home.


At any time during the school year, if a family income decreases, an application for free or reduced price meals may be completed to determine eligibility.


Parent/Guardian Repayment for Meal Charges -

Every effort will be made to collect unpaid meal charges (negative charges):

  1. Negative lunch account - will generate an email that will be sent each Thursday to remind you to put money on the account.
  2. Thursday cafeteria staff will print out payment reminders and put them in the teachers box to be sent home with students with negative balances of $10.00 or more
  3. At $15.00, administrators will be notified and a formal letter and meal application will be sent to the household from the district
  4. At $30.00 the district will contact the household
  5. Progressive notification will continue as long as there is outstanding debt


A log of these communication attempts will be kept on file.


Free and Reduced Lunch Price Meal Application - Payment Responsibilities until Approved

Families are encouraged to apply for free/reduced price meal benefits. Applications are available in school offices and on our district website at


Parents are responsible for payment of all school meals and accumulated charges until approval is granted. Federal guidelines allow a maximum of ten (10) business days to process a meal application. Parents will receive a notification letter of a student’s eligibility showing the effective date. If a notification letter is not received within ten (10) business days, the parent should contact Nutrition Services 619-825-5600 x2601 to see if the application has been received.


Adult Meals

There will be no charges allowed for adult meals.


All Negative Account Balances 

If a negative account balance is on a student’s account, the student will gently be reminded to bring lunch money, an automated email, phone call or text message will be made to the parent (Thursday) until the account is paid off. A log of these communication attempts will be kept on file. In addition, each Thursday cafeteria staff will print out payment reminders and put them in the teacher’s box to be sent home with students with negative balances of $10.00 or more.


Parent/guardians that do not pay their child's meal charges will be referred to the Principal for assistance in collecting payment. Principals will assist Nutrition Services in collecting the outstanding meal charges. In addition, principals may contact school social workers for assistance as needed.


At the end of the school year, the amount of uncollected meal debt must be paid to the

Child Nutrition meal fund account from a district funding source. These monies typically come from the general fund, which directly impacts our ability to provide the full range of instructional services designed to support the academic success of our students. Our hope is that through establishment and application of this policy, no meal debts will go unpaid, and all general fund monies will go toward our students’ educational experience.