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711.5 Meal Charges

In accordance with state and federal law, the PCM Community School District adopts the following policy to ensure 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, prevent the overt identification of students with insufficient funds to pay for school meals, and maintain the financial integrity of the nonprofit school nutrition program. 


Elementary (K-5th grades) Procedure:

  1. Daily balance notification sent home with students when his/her account is $5.00 or below.
  2. Phone call made to parents/guardians by building secretary one time per week at -$15.00 or below.
  3. If no response at -$25.00, building principal contacts parents/guardians and makes arrangements for lunch. Suggestions include cold lunch from home or pay cash in the office.


Middle School & High School (6th-12th grades) Procedure:

  1. $7.00 balance or below, cashier verbalizes balance to the student.
  2. $0.00 balance or below, students will not be allowed to charge extra entrée, extra milk or a la carte.
  3. $0.00 balance to -$10.00, students will be allowed to charge one meal per day (approximately 4 meals).
  4. At -$10.00 or below, students may pay cash or bring a cold lunch from home until funds are deposited into the student’s account.


Money must be available in a student’s account in order for extra meals, extra milks or a la carte to be purchased. This applies to all students, including students from families participating in the free and reduced meal program.


Students who qualify for free meals shall never be denied a reimbursable meal, even if they have accrued a negative balance from previous purchases. Students with outstanding meal charge debt shall be allowed to purchase a meal if the student pays for the meal when it is received.



Employees are expected to pay for all meals in a timely manner. At -$10.00 or below, employees may pay cash in the office or online. Negative balances must be paid at the end of the school year.



For parents/guardians providing an email address, an email will be sent from the school district notifying parents/guardians of their student(s) low balance ($6.00 or below) and negative balance (below $0.00) on a daily basis until funds are deposited into the student’s account. Parents/guardians may pay online using the using the district’s online payment system or cash/check to the building office.


Negative Account Balances

Negative student balances will be carried over to the following school year. These negative balances must be taken care of prior to the start of the school year as a part of the school registration process. Parents/guardians with negative student accounts will be asked to send lunch from home until negative balances have been paid or a payment schedule has been arranged.


A Free and Reduced Price Meals application is available to parents/guardians if, at any time, a parent/guardian believes they may qualify for free or reduced lunches under the federal guidelines. Parents/guardians may contact the building secretary or the school business office for further assistance.


The school district and the nutrition service department reserve the right to take any other reasonable action, including legal action, to collect the balance due in any student’s account. At -$50.00, accounts may be forwarded on to a collection service for recovery.


Communication of the Policy

The policy and supporting information regarding meal charges shall be provided in writing to:

  • All households at or before the start of each school year;
  • Students and families who transfer into the district, at time of transfer; and
  • All staff responsible for enforcing any aspect of the policy.


Records of how and when the policy and supporting information was communicated to households and staff will be retained.


The superintendent may develop an administrative process to implement this policy.


Legal Reference:        42 U.S.C. §§ 1751 et seq.

                                    7 C.F.R. §§ 210 et seq.

U.S. Dep’t of Agric., SP 46-2016, Unpaid Meal Charges: Local Meal Charge Policies (2016).

U.S. Dep’t of Agric., SP 47-2016, Unpaid Meal Charges: Clarification on Collection of Delinquent Meal Payments (2016).

U.S. Dep’t of Agric., SP 57-2016, Unpaid Meal Charges: Guidance and Q&A (2016).

                                    Iowa Code 283A.

                                    281 I.A.C. 58.


Approved 05/15/2017              Reviewed 07/17/2017             Revised 07/17/2017