Rockingham County Schools Board Policy on School Lunch Charges (2017)
Students who are required to pay for meals are expected to provide payment in a timely manner. The board recognizes, however, that students occasionally may forget or lose their meal money. In the event that a student is unable to pay for a meal on a particular day, the student may charge the regular reimbursable (“hot”) meal. Students will be permitted to charge up to $15.00, the equivalent of five lunches. To safeguard the dignity and confidentiality of students in the serving line, reasonable efforts must be used whenever possible to avoid calling attention to a student’s inability to pay.
The child nutrition director and principal shall work jointly to prevent meal charges from accumulating and shall make every effort to collect all funds due to the child nutrition program on a regular basis and before the end of the school term. Notices of low or negative balances in a child’s meal account will be sent to parents and the principal at regular intervals during the school year. When a student accrues $15.00 or more in unpaid meal charges, the principal shall take immediate steps to encourage the parent to resolve the unpaid balance. Parents are expected to pay all meal charges in full by the last day of each school year. The principal shall be responsible for continuing collection efforts beyond the end of the school year until all unpaid meal charges are resolved. If a parent regularly fails to provide meal money and does not qualify for free meal benefits, the principal shall determine what further course of action is necessary, which may include notifying the department of social services of suspected child neglect and/or taking legal steps to recover the unpaid meal charges.
The superintendent shall ensure that federal child nutrition funds are not used to offset the cost of unpaid meals and that the CNP is reimbursed for all unpaid and uncollected meal charges by June 30 of each year. As necessary, the principal of each school shall reimburse the CNP for unpaid and uncollected meal charges at the end of the school year by using appropriate school funds or other available fund sources.
This policy and any applicable procedures regarding meal charges must be communicated to school administrators, school food service professional, parents, and students. Parents will receive a written copy of the meal charges policy and any applicable procedures at the start of each school year and at any time their child transfers into a new school during the school year.