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701.3 Non-payment of School Meals

In accordance with state and federal law, the Spirit Lake Community School 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.

Payment of Meals

Students have use of a meal account. When an account reaches -$50.00, the school district has the option to deny students the ability to charge anything until the negative account balance is paid and additional funds are deposited into the account. In addition, when an account has ANY negative balance, students WILL NOT be allowed to charge seconds, extra milks or a la carte items to their account.  These items will need to be paid in cash until the account has a positive balance. (Families may add money to student accounts via electronic payment through Infinite Campus or send payments to the school offices.)

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. The school district may provide an alternate meal that meets federal and state requirements to students who have charged the maximum allowance to the student account and cannot pay out of pocket for a meal. The district may charge $1.50 for the alternate meal.

Employees may use a charge account for meals, but may charge no more than $20.00 to this account. When an account reaches this limit, an employee shall not be allowed to charge further meals or a la carte items until the negative account balance is paid.

Negative Account Balances

The school district will make reasonable efforts to notify families when meal account balances are low. Additionally, the school district will make reasonable efforts to collect unpaid meal charges classified as delinquent debt. The school district will coordinate communications with families to resolve the matter of unpaid charges. Families will be notified of an outstanding negative balance once the negative balance reaches -$1.00. Families will be notified by an automated email every day when the balance reaches $20.  Negative balances of more than $50 will be turned over to the principals for collection. Options may include:  collection agencies, small claims court, or any other legal method permitted by law.

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.




Approved: 6/12/17                           Reviewed: 11/13/2017; 2/11/19                          Revised: 11/13/17