School Meal Charge Policy

  • oh no
    What happens if my child forgets his meal money?
    It can happen to the best of us with the best intentions. Everett Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services wants to make sure no student goes hungry. We have in place an Extending Credit for School Meals procedure.

    The intent of this procedure is to ensure responsible financial management of the Food and Nutrition Services Program and consistent student-oriented practices at each school. This procedure is intended to be proactive and appropriate for students at different grade levels with an emphasis on minimizing any embarrassment that can be caused by a student running out of money on their student meal account.  We want the meal service to remain a positive experience for all students and intentionally make a consistent effort to minimize the identification and individual impact for a student with insufficient funds.

    Payments to load money into student lunch accounts can be made at the school office, the Food and Nutrition Services office, in the cafeteria, and online. Online payments and more information can be found on the district website.

    All School Grade Levels

    1. The goal is for student meal accounts to remain positive.
    2. Any student with insufficient funds will be allowed to charge up to 5 meals.
    3. Food & Nutrition Services will not delay or deny a meal due to insufficient funds.
      1. If there are insufficient funds in the account and the student has reached their charge limit; the student will be offered a quick grab meal
    1. All efforts shall be made to communicate with the student’s household by Food & Nutrition Services and/or School Counselors so payments can be made or meal benefits issued to qualifying families.
    2. After two attempts to reach the family, Food & Nutrition Services staff will notify School Counselors by e-mail when an account balance reaches a negative of the equivalent of three (3) full priced lunches. The School Counselor will connect with families and problem solve for the purpose of:
      1. Offering assistance with completing an application to determine the student's eligibility for free or reduced-price meals;
      2. Determining whether there are any household issues that may prevent the student from having sufficient funds for school meals;
      3. Offering any appropriate assistance. School Counselors will notify the Food & Nutrition office of the results of the communication
    1. The purchase of ala carte items is strictly prohibited when an account is negative or will become negative due to the charge.
    2. Non-Students are prohibited from accruing a negative meal balance.
    3. All balances, positive and negative, carry over to the next school year.
    4. Children who have money to pay for their meal at the time of service must be provided a meal. The money may not be used to repay previously unpaid charges if the child intended to use the money to cover the purchase of that day’s meal.

    To aid families in maintaining positive meal balances, the District does the following: 

    1. Issues a twice-weekly negative meal balance notification robo-call and e-mail to families owing money. The e-mail will include the link to the online free/reduced meal application.
    2. Sends a reminder envelope once a week to elementary students. Envelopes will put in the teachers box to be sent home.
    3. Issues a once a week low balance e-mail to families when their student’s account reaches $5.00 for full pay students and $1.00 for reduced price students.
    4. Make available an on-line application for meal benefits
    5. Make available an on-line payment system with the option to set up low balance notifications and ability to check their students balance
    6. Makes available: paper applications at each school office and/or in their opening school year paperwork packet, printable online applications translated into multiple languages.
    7. School Counselors provide outreach to help families determine eligibility for meal assistance.

    Quick Grab Meal:

    The district does not want to burden any family with unpaid accumulating debt.  Therefore, it is the practice for all students to be offered a complete reimbursable breakfast or lunch when their account reaches the 3 meal charge limit.  The quick grab meal will be offered at no charge.  Students are able to self-select fresh fruits, veggies, and milk, in addition to any of the cold combinations offered of their choice. These meals minimize any identification or singling out of a student, are available daily at all service lines, and are often selected regularly by paying customers.

    Protecting Student Confidentiality:

    Food & Nutrition Services strives to serve each student with dignity and respect. Hand stamps, stickers or any other means of overt identification of a student with unpaid meal debt in the cafeteria or the classroom are prohibited. Additionally, students with unpaid meal debt shall not be required to work off their debt, including, but not limited to, wiping down tables or cleaning the cafeteria.