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8.43 Unpaid Meal Policy

8.43 Unpaid Meal Policy

Chapter 8.00: Auxiliary Services




The School Board of Okeechobee County is sensitive to the fact that its Child Nutrition Program must provide for all students. The District must maintain financial viability of the food service operation knowing that some students may lack the means to pay for meals. The Board is committed to supporting the following guidelines to address student unpaid meal charges.


I. The Child Nutrition Program (CNP) shall be responsible for tracking all student meal charges, the amounts associated with the meal charges and the date the charge was incurred. History Reports will be supplied to parents/guardians and/or school principals, social workers and guidance counselors on demand when it pertains to the collection of lunchroom debt by the Food Service Manager (FSM).

ll. FSM shall be the first point of contact by sending the family a copy of the Unpaid Meal Charge Policy, a free and reduced lunch application and a copy of the low/negative balance report and making the initial phone call to a student’s family who is found to have a negative account over $10.00.

lll. If the FSM is unsuccessful in reaching the family, or the contact did not result in the account being paid in full, the Child Nutrition Office will send an automated call to the home using Skyward School Messenger.

lV. If the call from Skyward School Messenger does not result in the account being paid in full, the CNP will forward student negative balance of all student meal charges to the School Principal. Additional efforts can be made by the School Administrative Office.

V. When all attempts listed above have been exhausted, with no resulting payment, the Cafeteria Manager will send the family an additional copy of the Unpaid Meal Charge Policy and negative balance report. It is a requirement of the Healthy Hungry Free Kids Act (HHFKA, Public Law 111-126; December 13, 2010) that the current policy be given to parents/guardians at the start of each school year, to families transferring to the school mid-year, on the District website and throughout the school year. It is also a requirement that the policy be provided to all school or district-level staff responsible for enforcement. This includes, school food service professionals, principals, staff involved in notifying families, social workers, school nurses, liaisons for homeless, migrant, and runaways at a minimum.

VI. The Principal and the Child Nutrition Supervisor are encouraged to work together to fill out and approve a Free & Reduced Lunch Form on behalf of the student whose debt continues to rise and where contacts to the family have gone unanswered. This should be done on a case-by-case basis.


The Okeechobee County School Board (OCSB) is concerned that all students receive the nutrition they need to stay focused during the school day. The School Board does not wish that any student be singled out for the inability to pay for meals. The School Board also understands that OCSB Child Nutrition Program must maintain the financial integrity of the nonprofit school food service account. The Board puts the following Unpaid Meal Charge Policy into effect:

I. When a student does not have the funds to cover a reimbursable meal, the meal chosen by the student will be served and the account debited. No alternate meal will be served at this point. The student’s account will be debited the cost of the meal. In order to save the student from public embarrassment, he/she will not be informed of the incurred debt while in the lunch line. At a debt level of $10.00, a low balance notification, Unpaid Meal Policy and a Free & Reduced Lunch Form will be sent home to the parents via the student, placed in a blank white envelope to avoid overt identification and delivered to the student via the school administrative office. A phone call will also be made to the parent/guardian when the student reaches a debt level of $10.00.

II. Every effort will be made to inform the parent/guardian of the need to replace unpaid meal charges by the Cafeteria, the Child Nutrition Program and the School Administration.

III. Students who have debt will not be allowed to purchase a la carte foods.

IV. There will be no ceiling debt level before which a student is declined a meal. However, an alternate meal not of the student’s choice will be served after debt has exceeded $50.00.

V. Student debt will “follow” the student from school-to-school and year-to-year until paid. Students will be required to have any debt $20.00 or more paid in full before participating in special school activities and programs such as field trips unrelated to the curriculum and field day, etc. and before participating in graduation. The Child Nutrition Program will be responsible for sending letters on District letterhead in the month of January and again in April to the parents of all seniors whose lunch accounts are negative. The parent/guardian of all students, whose accounts are not paid by May 1, will be notified by the High School administrative office that their student will not be able to “walk” at graduation without full payment of all school debt. A payment plan can be arranged.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY: 1001.42, 1001.43, F.S.

LAWS IMPLEMENTED: 570.98, 570.981, F.S.



HISTORY: Adopted: 07/11/2017

Revision Date(s):

Formerly: F-25