POLICY #534 UNPAID MEAL CHARGES

Adopted: 2-25-11 MSBA/MASA Model Policy 534
Orig. 2017
Revised: 7-19-19 Rev. 2019


534 UNPAID MEAL CHARGES

I. PURPOSE
The purpose of this policy is to ensure that students receive healthy and nutritious meals
through the school district’s nutrition program and that school district employees,
families, and students have a shared understanding of expectations regarding meal
charges. The policy seeks to allow students to receive the nutrition they need to stay
focused during the school day and minimize identification of students with insufficient
funds to pay for school meals as well as to maintain the financial integrity of the school
nutrition program.


II. PAYMENT OF MEALS
A. All meal purchases are to be prepaid before meal service begins. Payment may be
made online through the Infinite Campus Parents Portal or be mailed/dropped off
in the Food Service or District Office. A student who does not have sufficient
funds will not be allowed to charge meals or a la carte items until additional
money is deposited in the student’s account.
B. If the school district receives school lunch aid under Minn. Stat. § 124D.111, it
must make lunch available without charge to all participating students who qualify
for free or reduced-price meals regardless of account balance.
C. A student with an outstanding meal charge debt will be allowed to purchase a
meal if the student pays for the meal when it is received.
D. The school district may provide an alternate meal that meets federal and state
requirements to a student who does not have sufficient funds in the student’s
account or cannot pay cash for a meal. The school district will accommodate
special dietary needs with respect to alternate meals. The cost of the alternative
meal.50 cents will be charged to the student’s account or otherwise charged to the
student.
E. When a student has a negative account balance, the student will not be allowed to
charge a snack item.
F. If a parent or guardian chooses to send in one payment that is to be divided
between sibling accounts, the parent or guardian must specify how the funds are to
be distributed to the students’ accounts. Funds may not be transferred between
sibling accounts unless written permission is received from the parent or guardian.


III. LOW OR NEGATIVE ACCOUNT BALANCES – NOTIFICATION
A. a notice will be sent electronically to the parent or legal guardian.
B. When an account has a $0 balance, a notice will again be sent to the parent or
legal guardian by electronic notification.
C. Families will be notified of an outstanding negative balance once the negative
balance reaches $10. Families will be notified electronically and by mail. A
modified meal will be made available to the student in lieu of the regular meal. A
modified meal will be defined a s a meat or cheese sandwich and a carton of milk.
The cost of the modified meal will be .50 cents per day/meal
D A modified meal will continue to be made available to the student until the
balance is paid in full.
E. Reminders for payment of outstanding student meal balances will not demean or
stigmatize any student participating in the school lunch program.

IV. UNPAID MEAL CHARGES
A. The school district will make reasonable efforts to communicate with families to
resolve the matter of unpaid charges. Where appropriate, families may be
encouraged to apply for free and reduced-price meals for their children.
B. The school district will make reasonable efforts to collect unpaid meal charges
classified as delinquent debt. Unpaid meal charges are designated as delinquent
debt when payment is overdue, the debt is considered collectable, and efforts
are being made to collect it.
C. Negative balances of more than $10, not paid prior to the end of the school year
will be turned over to the superintendent or superintendent’s designee for
collection. Collection options may include, but are not limited to, use of collection
agencies, claims in the conciliation court, or any other legal method permitted by
law.
D. The school district may not enlist the assistance of non-school district employees,
such as volunteers, to engage in debt collection efforts.
E. The school district may not deny any student the opportunity to participate in
graduation ceremonies or other commencement activities due to unpaid meal
charges.

V. COMMUNICATION OF POLICY
A. This policy and any pertinent supporting information shall be provided in writing
(i.e., mail, email, back-to-school packet, student handbook, etc.) to:

  1. all households at or before the start of each school year;
  2. students and families who transfer into the school district, at the time of enrollment; and
  3. all school district personnel who are responsible for enforcing this policy.

B. The school district may post the policy on the school district’s website, in addition
to providing the required written notification described above.

Legal References: Minn. Stat. § 124D.111, Subd. 4
42 U.S.C. § 1751 et seq. (Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act)
7 C.F.R. § 210 et seq. (School Lunch Program Regulations)
7 C.F.R. § 220.8 (School Breakfast Program Regulations)
USDA Policy Memorandum SP 46-2016, Unpaid Meal Charges: Local
Meal Charge Policies (2016)
USDA Policy Memorandum SP 47-2016, Unpaid Meal Charges:
Clarification on Collection of Delinquent Meal Payments (2016)
USDA Policy Memorandum SP 23-2017, Unpaid Meal Charges: Guidance
and Q&A
Minn. Op. Atty. Gen. 169j (May 14, 2019) (Letter to Ricker)