Williamsville Central School District

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Non-Instructional Operations

5660   MEAL CHARGING AND PROHIBITION AGAINST MEAL SHAMING


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 whose 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. 

The District may allow free or reduced-price meals for qualifying district students after receiving a written application from the student's parent or guardian or a 'direct certification' letter from OTDA. Applications will be provided by the district to all families.

School officials must also determine eligibility for free or reduced-price meals and milk by using the Direct Certificate Matching Process. Any student residing in a household receiving federal assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), or Medicaid is automatically eligible for free meals and milk. Eligible families will not have to complete further applications. the district will notify parents or guardians of eligibility, giving them the opportunity to decline free meals and milk. 

The District participates in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and Special Milk Program, to receive commodities and subsidies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In return, the District provides free and reduced-price meals to elementary and secondary students in its schools and serves meals that meet federal requirements. 

Access to Meals
a.   Free meal benefit eligible students will be allowed to receive a free breakfast and lunch meal of their choice each day. A la carte items or other similar items must be paid/prepaid.

b.   Reduced meal benefit eligible students will be allowed to receive a breakfast of their choice and lunch of their choice each day. The charge meals offered to students will be reimbursable meals available to all students, unless the student's parent or guardian has specifically provided written permission to the district to withhold a meal. A La carte items or other similar items must be paid/prepaid. 

c.  Full pay students will pay for meals at the district's published paid meal rate each day. The charge meals offered to students will be reimbursable meals available to all students, unless the student's parent or guardian has specifically provided written permission to the district to withhold a meal. A la carte items or other similar items must be paid/prepaid. 

Ongoing Staff Training
 a.   Staff will be trained annually and throughout the year, as needed, on the procedures for managing meal charges using the State Education Department (SED) Webinar or the district's training program. 

b.   Staff training will include ongoing eligibility certification for free or reduced price meals. 

Parent Notification
Parents/guardians will be notified that a student's meal card or account balance is exhausted through Point of Sale system reminders, letters and phone calls.

Parent Outreach
a.  Staff will communicate with parents/guardians with five or more unpaid meal charges to determine eligibility for free or reduced price meals.

b.  Staff will make two documented attempts to reach out to parents/guardians to complete a meal application in addition to the application and instructions provided in the school enrollment packet. 

c.  Staff will contact the parent/guardian to offer assistance with completion of meal application to determine if there are other issues within the household causing the student to have insufficient funds, offering any other assistance that is appropriate. 

d.  Parents or guardians may state to the Child Nutrition Program that they do not want their child to charge a meal per district form. 

Minimizing Student Distress
a.  Staff will not publicly identify or stigmatize any student is line for a meal or discuss any outstanding meal debt in the presence of any other students. 

b.  Students with unpaid meal charges will not be required to wear a wristband or hand stamp, or to do chores or other work to pay for meals. 

c.  Staff will not throw away a meal after it has been served because of the student's inability to pay for the meal or because of previous unpaid meal charges.

d.  Staff will not take any action directed at a student to collect unpaid meal charges.

e.  Staff will deal directly with parents/guardians regarding unpaid meal charges. 

Ongoing Eligibility Certification
a.  Staff will conduct direct certification through the New York Student Identification System (NYSSIS) or using SED Roster Upload at least monthly to maximize free eligibility.

b.  Staff will provide parents/guardians with free and reduced price application and instructions at the beginning of each school year in the school enrollment packet. 

c.  If the district uses an electronic meal application, it will provide an explanation of the process in the school enrollment packet and instructions on how to request a paper application at no cost.

d.  The district will provide at least two additional free and reduced price applications throughout the school year to families identified as owing meal charges. 

e.  The district will use its administrative prerogative to complete an application on a student's behalf judiciously, and only after using exhaustive efforts to obtain a completed application from the student's parent/guardian. the district will complete the application using only available information on family size and income that falls within approval guidelines. 

f.  The district will coordinate with the foster, homeless, migrant, and runaway coordinators at least monthly to certify eligible students. 

Prepaid Accounts
Students/Parents/Guardians may pay for meals in advance via Williamsville Food Services or through the Point of Sale system. Further details are available on the district's web page under the Child Nutrition section. Funds should be maintained in accounts to minimize the possibility that a student may be without meal money on any given day. Any remaining funds for a particular students will be carried over to the next school year. 

To obtain a refund for a withdrawn or graduating student, a written or emailed request for a refund of any money remaining in the student's account must be submitted. Students who are graduating at the end of the year will be given the option to transfer any remaining money to a sibling's account through a written request.

Unclaimed funds must be requested within one school year. Unclaimed funds will then become the property of the District Food Service Program. 

Restriction of Sweetened Foods in School 
The sale of sweetened foods will be prohibited from the beginning of the school day until the end of the last scheduled meal period.

Sweetened foods consist of sweetened soda water,; chewing gum,; and candy, including hard candy, jellies, gum, marshmallow candies, fondant, licorice, spun candy, candy coated-popcorn, and water ices, except those which contain fruit or fruit juices.

Restrictions on Sale of Milk Prohibited
Schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program may not directly or indirectly restrict the sale or marketing of fluid milk products at any time or in any place on school premises or at school-sponsored events. 

Food Substitutions for Children with Disabilities 
Federal regulations governing the operation of Child Nutrition Programs, Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 require that children with disabilities be offered the opportunity to participate in all academic and nonacademic activities including school nutrition programs. The District will make reasonable accommodations to those children whose disabilities restrict their diets, such as providing substitutions or modifications in the regular meal patterns. These meal substitutions will be offered at no extra charge. A student with a disability must be provided substitutions in food when that need is supported by a statement signed by a physician attesting to the need for the substitutions and recommending alternate foods. 

However, the school food service is not required to provide meal services (for example, School Breakfast Program) to students with disabilities when the meal service is not normally available to the general student body, unless a meal service is required under the student's individualized education program (IEP) or Section 504 Accommodation Plan as mandated by a physician's written instructions. 

Food Substitutions for Non-disabled Children 
Though not required, the District will also allow substitutions for non-disabled children who are unable to consume the regular meal because of medical or other special dietary needs if the request is supported by a statement signed by a recognized medical authority. 

The District may also allow substitutions for fluid milk with a non-dairy beverage that is nutritionally equivalent (as established by the Secretary of Agriculture) to fluid milk and meets nutritional standards for students who are unable to consume fluid milk because of medical or other special dietary needs if the request is supported by a statement signed by a recognized medical authority or by the student's parent/legal guardian. 

Prohibition Against Adults Charging Meals 
Adults must pay for their meals at the time of service or set up pre-paid accounts. 

HACCP-Based Food Safety Program 
Schools participating in the National School Lunch and/or School Breakfast programs are required to implement a food safety program based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles. The District must develop a written food safety program for each of its food preparation and service facilities that is based on either traditional HACCP principles or the "Process Approach" to HACCP. (The "Process Approach" simplifies traditional HACCP by grouping foods according to preparation process and applying the same control measures to all menu items within the group, rather than developing an HACCP plan for each item.) 

Regardless of the implementation option selected, the District's written food safety program must also include:
a.      Critical control points and critical limits;
b.      Monitoring procedures;
c.      Corrective actions;
d.     Verification procedures;
e.     Record keeping requirements; and
f.      Periodic review and food safety program revision. 



Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, PL 108-265
Child Nutrition Act 1966, 42 USC § 1771 et seq.
Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act 1946, 42 USC § 1751 et seq.
§ 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 USC § 794 et seq.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 USC §§ 1400-1485
7 CFR Parts 15B, 210 and 220
Education Law §§ 902(b), 915, 918, 1604(28), 1709(22), 1709(23) and 2503(9)(a)
8 NYCRR §§ 200.2(b)(1) and 200.2(b)(2)
Social Services Law § 95

 

Adopted: 7/7/09
Revisions Adopted: 9/9/14; 3/13/18; 7/2/18