Meal Charge/Prohibition Against Meal Shaming Policy

The Board of Education recognizes the importance of good nutrition and the impact on student learning. The Board recognizes that, on occasion, students may not have enough funds to pay for a meal. To ensure that students do not go hungry, but also to promote responsible student behavior and minimize the fiscal burden to the district, the Board will allow students who do not have enough funds to “charge” the cost of meals to be paid back at a later date subject to the terms in this policy.

  1. Elementary and Middle School students: full paid and reduced students will be allowed to charge a combination of meals up to the dollar value of five (5) meals. The food service department will send emails to parents/guardians and/or weekly letters to the student’s home, to the address on file, to inform parent/guardians that their student has charged meal(s). Students will receive the meal of the day as stated on the menu. Once students exceed the $25.00 level then, the food service director will inform the Business Office to send a letter, by certified mail, return receipt requestedto the parent/guardian. When the student reaches the maximum charge allowed, $37.50 (dollar value of 15 meals), the food service director will inform the principal of the student’s name and balance due. The principal may refer the matter to a counselor/social worker/designee for possible further consideration. In the event the parent still declines to acknowledge the debt incurred, the matter may be referred to small claims court. Students will not be permitted to exceed this limit until the outstanding charges are paid in full.
  2. High School students: High School students are responsible for and very capable of remembering their lunch money. The District has had a long-standing no meal charge policy for High School students that will continue.
  3. Only complete meals are permitted to be charged. . A la carte items such as snacks or ice cream may not be charged;
  4. The District’s point-of-sale system will track all charges and payments; the system will generate letters emailed to the parent/guardian and/or mailed to the address on record.
  5. Students/Parents/Guardians may pay for meals in advance via or with a check payable to Cafeteria Fund. Further details are available on our webpage at link to “Lunch menus”. Funds should be maintained in accounts to minimize the possibility that a child may be without meal money on any given day.
  6. If a student comes to school without a lunch, and has exceeded the maximum reimbursable-meal limit, the District may provide a reimbursable meal (that is available to all students) so that he or she does not go hungry that day; the meal’s cost will be added to the student’s negative balance. The school cafeteria will inform the principal of the occurrence.
  7. Refunds for withdrawn and graduating students: a written or e-mailed request for a refund of any money remaining in their account must be submitted. Upon written request, parents/guardians of students who are graduating at the end of the year may transfer the remaining funds to a sibling’s account or permit the use of the funds to offset unpaid balances.
  8. Unclaimed Funds must be requested within one school year. Unclaimed funds will then become the property of the Goshen CSD Food Service Program.
  9. As appropriate, District administration may contact the County Department of Social Services to report a student’s consistent failure to arrive at school with a meal or have funds to purchase a meal.
  10. The USDA, through the New York State Department of Education, has an expectation that if the district allows meals to be charged the district is responsible for those balances to be paid off on an annual basis from non-federal funds.

Unpaid meal charges will be addressed directly with the student’s parent or guardian who is responsible for providing funds for meal purchases; discreet notifications of zero or deficit balances will be sent at appropriate intervals during the school year. Weekly letters will be mailed home to the address on file to inform parents/guardians that their student has charged meals and has a deficit balance. The notification may include a repayment schedule when necessary, but will not charge any interest or fees related to meals charged during the grace period. District administration will further consider the benefits of attempted collections and the costs that would be expended in collection attempts.