Hamden Public Schools District Policies

3542.43 - Food Services: Lunch Charging

Lunch Charging 

Connecticut's school Child Nutrition Programs consist of the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, Special Milk, After School Snack and Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Programs. It is a local decision as to in which programs the District selects to participate. These programs are federally funded and are 
administered by the United States Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service. At the State level, the school Child Nutrition Programs are administered by the Connecticut State Department of Education, which operates the program through agreements with the local school food authorities. 

The school nutrition program is an extension of the school's educational programs and it is the District's vision to have a partnership among students, staff, school family and the community in offering access to and providing nutritious meals, which are attractively presented at an affordable 
price. Meals are planned to meet the specified nutrient standards outlined by the United States Department of Agriculture for children based on their age or grade group. 

The Board of Education (Board) has an agreement with the Connecticut State Department of Education to participate in one or more school Child Nutrition Programs and accepts full responsibility for adhering to the federal and state guidelines and regulations pertaining to these school Child Nutrition Programs. The Board also accepts full responsibility for providing free or reduced price meals to eligible elementary and secondary students enrolled in the District's schools. Applicants for such meals are responsible to pay for meals until the application for the free or reduced price meals is completed and approved. A new application needs to be completed each school year. All applications for free and reduced price lunch and any related information will be considered strictly confidential and not to be shared outside of the District's food services program. 

Although not required by law, because of the District's participation in the Child Nutrition Programs, the Board approves the establishment of a system to allow a student to charge a meal. The Board 
realizes that funds from the non-profit school food service account, according to federal regulations, cannot be used to cover the cost of charged meals that have not been paid. Moreover, federal funds are intended to subsidize the meals of children and may not be used to subsidize meals for adults 
(teachers, staff and visitors). Adults are not allowed to charge meals and shall pay for such meals at the time of service or through pre-paid accounts. 

In order to sustain the District's food services program, the District cannot permit the excessive charging of student meals. Therefore, any charging of meals must be consistent with this policy and any accompanying regulations. The Superintendent or his/her designee shall develop regulations 
designed to effectively and respectfully address family responsibility for unpaid meals. 

Any parent/guardian who anticipates a problem with paying for meals is encouraged to contact the Food Services Manager/Director and/or the applicable school Principal for assistance. The Board encourages all families who may have a child eligible for free or reduced price lunch to apply. 

Dissemination of Policy 

On an annual basis, all families will be notified of this policy. Written notification will be provided at the start of the school year or upon enrollment in Hamden Public Schools. 

This policy shall be provided to all school staff and/or school food authority staff responsible for its enforcement. In addition, school social workers, nurses, the homeless liaison, and other staff members assisting children in need or who may be contacted by families with unpaid meal charges also will be informed of this policy. 

The District's school food authority shall maintain, as required, documentation of the methods used to communicate this policy to households and school staff or school food authority-level staff responsible for policy enforcement. 

(d. 3542 - Food Service) 

Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes 

USDA Guidance:

  • SP 46-2016, "Unpaid Meal Charges: Local Meal Charge Policies"
  • SP 47-2016, "Unpaid Meal Charges: Clarification on Collection of Delinquent Meal Payment"
  • SP 57-2016 "Unpaid Meal Charges: Guidance and Q and A"
  • SP 58-2016 "2016 Edition: Overcoming the Unpaid Meal Challenge: Proven Strategies from Our Nation's Schools"

First Reading: April 10, 2018

Policy adopted: May 2018 

HAMDEN PUBLIC SCHOOLS     Hamden, Connecticut