District Charging Policy

District Charging Policy

It is the responsibility of the School Lunch Program to provide a nutritious meal every day when school is in session to those students who wish to participate in the program. It is also the right of the District to receive money for those foods that are sold throughout the year. This money may come through the state as reimbursement, which is why families are encouraged to fill out an application for free/reduced meals each year to assess their children’s eligibility. If students are not eligible for these benefits, then the money must come from the parent or the student. If the student does not have the money to purchase the meal, the student may temporarily use the charge program provided by the District outlined below.

School Charge Policy: It is the District's goal to provide students with access to nutritious no- or low- cost meals each school day and to ensure that a student whose parent/guardian has unpaid meal charges is not shamed or treated differently than a student who parent/guardian does not have unpaid meal charges. Unpaid meal charges place a large financial burden on the District. The purpose of this policy is to ensure compliance with federal requirements for the USDA Child Nutrition Program and to provide oversight and accountability for the collection of outstanding student meal balances to ensure that the student is not stigmatized, distressed or embarrassed. The intent of this policy is to establish procedures to address unpaid meal charges throughout the District in a way that does not stigmatize, distress, or embarrass students. The provisions of this policy pertain to regular priced reimbursable school breakfast, lunch and snack meals only. Charging of items outside of the reimbursable meals (a la carte items, adult meals, etc.) is expressly prohibited. 

Checks Returned for Insufficient Funds:
 When a check is returned for insufficient funds, a notice will be sent from the Treasurer to inform the parent(s) of the returned check. Payment with fees is expected within fourteen (14) days of the date of the letter. Please send these payments directly to the Treasurer and not to the cafeteria.

Balances Owed at End of Year:
 All outstanding balances must be paid by the end of June. Automated negative balance phone calls will be made throughout the school year. Accounts not settled may be referred to a collection agent. The DCSD food service department differs from other district departments because it is an Enterprise Fund, which is run like a private business. Revenues need to meet or exceed expenditures. Since the DCSD food service department is self-supporting, it depends on prompt payment to maintain the services provided to students.

The DCSD food service department does not receive any funds from the Districts budget, levies, or property taxes. DCSD food service department is funded only from federal reimbursement and student payments. All positive balances will transfer over to the next school year. 

Parent/Guardian Responsibilities: 
If parents or guardians choose not to have their children participate in the School Lunch Program, it is their responsibility to provide a midday meal for those students. If parents or guardians do choose to participate, then it is their responsibility to provide money for their children to purchase a meal. If neither of these choices is consistently made, the School District reserves the right to refer the family to Social Services due to physical neglect.