The Ames Community School Board on June 5, 2017 carved into a separate policy its procedures for dealing with unpaid meal account balances, which had been in place since 2015. However, the Board plans to revisit the policy to find a long-term solution. Watch this page for updates.
Why is the School Board acting on an Unpaid Meal Policy?
The USDA is requiring all school districts nationwide to have a policy in place by July 1, 2017 that details the procedures for unpaid meals. The Board approved unpaid meal procedures in June 2015 as part of another policy after the school district began to run large lunch account deficits, including $109,473 in the 2015 fiscal year. Since then, the negligent balances have fallen by more than $60,000. The Board drafted a separate policy in 2017 to meet the new USDA requirements. On June 5, 2017, the Board approved Policy 710.4 Meal & Snack Charges.
How do families know if they qualify for free or reduced school meal?
The district provides access to the application for free or reduced price school meals each year with other annual notices, and to all new families who enroll students in the district. When applications are processed, the district notifies families about their qualification status. Income guidelines are established by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Students who qualify for reduced meals are charged the difference between the federal reimbursement for free meals and reduced meals, which is currently 40 cents.
To determine the price a school district must charge students don’t qualify for free or reduced price school meals, the USDA has established a formula through its Paid Lunch Equity Tool. …