Parent Resources and FAQ
We are committed to offering a variety of satisfying and nutritional meals to our students on a daily basis. The USDA National School Breakfast and Lunch Program guidelines require at breakfast for each student to take three of the four components offered and one must be a fruit or juice and for lunch, students must take three of five components offered and one must be a fruit, juice or vegetable. We also offer whole grains and three different flavors of fat-free milk. The meals we serve meet or exceed the USDA nutrition guidelines. We Feed Success!
Overview of the National School Lunch Program
The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) was established under the National School Lunch Act (NSLA), signed by President Harry Truman in 1946, to “safeguard the health and well-being of the Nation’s children and to encourage the domestic consumption of nutritious agricultural commodities and other foods.” The NSLP has grown to become the second-largest U.S. food and nutrition assistance program in both numbers of children served—30 million in 2006—and Federal dollars spent—8 billion in 2006. Almost 60 percent of American children age 5-18 participate in the program at least once per week. Almost half of all lunches served are provided free to students, with an additional 10 percent provided at reduced prices. Although schools are not required to offer NSLP meals, 94 percent of schools, both public and private, choose to participate in the program. NSLP accounts for 17 percent of the total Federal expenditures for all food and nutrition assistance programs.
Ralston, et al. (2008) The National School Lunch Program: Background, Trends, and Issues / ERR-61 Economic Research Service/USDA
- How do I apply for free and reduced meal benefits for the student (s)? The application can be found on the district website under “For Parents.” A paper copy is available at the school or the Food Service office. The paper application can be returned to the Food Service Office located at 6608 Raytown Road, Raytown, MO 64133 or your student’s school. To receive benefits, you must complete a free/reduced meal application for each household listing all students that reside in the home every school year. All household members must be listed with their income. All applications must be filled out correctly with the student’s name(s), school attending, grade and birth date. Applications cannot be approved without an adult household member signature and the last four digits of their social security number. If household members receive food stamps or TANF (not Medicaid), the DCN# must be listed on the application. The DCN# (not EBT#) can be found on the award letter. After the application has been processed, you will receive an email with the results of the application. For further questions, please contact the Food Service Office at 268-7076.
- Why do I have to complete a free and reduced meal application every year? The National School Lunch and Breakfast Program require a current application to be filled out every year because of possible changes to the information provided on the application from the previous year. Meal benefits are available the day after the application has been processed by the Food Service office and continue through the current school year and 30 days into the next school year. Any student that does not have a current application on file at the Food Service office will be unable to receive free/reduced meal benefits 30 calendar days into the new school year.
- Why was my student’s application denied for free/reduced meal benefits? To understand why an application is denied, it is important to know how the application is reviewed. All applications are evaluated based on federal guidelines in three areas:
- Food stamp or TANF families automatically qualify for free meals if an active DCN# is provided on the application.
- Foster children who are placed in a home by the state automatically qualify for free meals provided the “foster child” box is checked on the application.
- Income household families must be evaluated for eligibility based on the size of the household and monthly income. If the application does not meet the federal income guidelines or if the application is not correctly completed, then it may be denied. If you have questions, please contact the Food Service office at 268-7076.
- Why was my student’s application selected for income verification? Federal guidelines require all sponsors of the National School Lunch Program to conduct income verification on a pre-selected percentage. Applications at each school site are randomly selected for verification by using district approved procedures. Within a specified time period, parents/guardians must provide adequate documentation for proof of income. The student will lose free and reduced meal benefits until documentation is provided.
- What are the income guidelines for the free/reduced meal program? Any child at a participating school may purchase a meal through the National School Lunch Program. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the poverty level are eligible for free meals. Those with incomes between 130 percent and 185 percent of the poverty level are eligible for reduced‐price meals.
- How can I make a deposit on my student’s account, check account balance or history of food purchases? Prepaying for breakfast, lunch or a la carte items is an efficient way to pay for your student’s food purchases. Meals may be paid either by cash, check, or online. Online payments can be made by going to the district website under “For Parents” and clicking on the link for My Payments Plus to set up a free account. Cash or check can be given to cashiers at your student’s school. The cashier will provide a friendly reminder when your student’s account is getting low. However, you can access your student’s account for account balance and purchase history by logging into My Payment’s Plus. You can use this link even if you do not use the online system for payment.
- How do I receive a refund on my student’s account? If you would like a money refund from your student’s account, you must make a written or phone request to the Food Service office. The information needs to include the student’s name, school, parent/guardian’s name as well as the address where the refund should be mailed. Please allow 4-6 weeks for the check to be mailed.
- How does my student receive a PIN? Will the PIN remain the same? A student’s pin number is also the student’s ID number given at the time of enrollment. This number stays the same for the time the student is enrolled in the Raytown School District.
- What if my student does not have money available on their account to purchase a meal? We do not want any children to go hungry. If for some reason a student lacks funds to purchase a meal, we provide a peanut butter sandwich with all the side items that are available with a regular meal. Breakfast is at no cost for all students.
- How can I limit what my student can purchase from his/her account? If the parent or guardian deposits money in the meal account, that money can only be used for full meal purchases. If money is deposited in the general account than the money can be used for meal, single item and a la carte purchases. A student’s account can also be blocked from a la carte purchases at the parent or guardian’s request. The “block” will allow the account to only be used for full meal purchases. The block can be changed by contacting the Food Service office.
- What happens to the money left on my student’s account at the end of the school year? Any money left in the student’s account at the end of the school year, will be available the following school year regardless if the student changes school within the district.
- Who writes the menus for the food service program? The school menus are a collaborative effort by the Food Service Director and Nutrition Coordinator along with feedback from the Café Managers, students, and staff. All menus are assessed by the Nutrition Coordinator for compliance with the National School Breakfast and Lunch Program guidelines.
- Who determines the lunch periods for my student’s school? Meal periods are set by the Principal at each school location. Federal guidelines state that breakfast starts 30 minutes prior to school start time and lunch to occur between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
- Why do adults pay more for meals than students? The district receives federal reimbursement for meals served to students only. The value of this reimbursement plus any donated commodities must not be used to subsidize adult meals.
- How does the food service department handle special diets and food allergies? The parent/guardian must have the food allergy form found on the district website listing in detail the foods to be omitted by a licensed physician and signed by both the physician and parent. The form must be turned into the school nurse at the student’s school. The Food Service then receives the form from the school nurse; an alert is entered in the system so when a student with a special diet or food allergy puts in their PIN # an alert will pop up on their screen for the cashier. If the parent/guardian would like the special diet or food allergy removed, then a licensed physician must fill out the food allergy form detailing what foods are no longer of concern and sign it along with the parent.
USDA Nondiscrimination Statement
For all other FNS nutrition assistance programs, State or local agencies, and their sub-recipients must post the following Nondiscrimination Statement:
In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint filine_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (566) 632- 9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by (1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; (2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or (3) email:firstname.lastname@example.org.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.