The Food Services Department uses a computerized meal cashier program. Record keeping of money paid and meals eaten by your child are recorded in a computerized database in the school kitchen. Students are able to enter their student ID number or have an ID card that is scanned as each student purchases a meal or an item from the cafeteria.
The lunch accounting system is a debit system, which means that you deposit money into an account and as the student eats, the meal charge is deducted from the account balance. It is expected that all balances will be kept positive. Food Services cannot extend credit to families for purchase of meals or a la carte items. If your account is negative, no purchases are allowed, you must send cash to purchase a meal or send a sack lunch.
The district is not responsible for any cash sent to school with children. Please pay by check or money order with reference to your student name, ID number, and school. Please note that the district cannot be responsible for post-dated checks. You may also make debit/credit card payments online via the third party website known as MySchoolBucks.com. First payments for meals need to be made prior to the first day that meals are served so that there is money in the student’s account. Please do not combine lunch money payment with other chool type payments (e.g., enrollment fees, fines, cash, etc.. Meal payment envelopes are available in the
cafeteria and most school offices.
Free and Reduced-Price Lunches
Families must complete an application for free/reduced-priced meal benefits every school year. Only 1 application per family is required. Applications are available online from the school district’s website mid-July. Printed applications will be available at the district enrollment center mid-July.
Food Services has 10 days to process applications from the time they are received. Families are responsible for any lunch charges incurred until their application is approved. Until receiving notification of approval, please deposit money to your child’s account to cover charges for meals.
A la Carte Purchases
The USDA has brought about some changes to the meal selection process. Food groups are now called components consisting of the following: meat or meat alternatives, fluid milk, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Students must choose a minimum of three of the five components to count as a meal. One of the three components must be 1⁄2 cup of fruit or vegetable. We encourage all five for a healthy meal. Secondary students may choose a lunch meal of main dish, milk, and four side dishes, maximum.
Items purchased in addition to lunch/breakfast meals are considered a la carte purchases. No a la carte charges will be allowed if the student account reaches a zero balance. All students are considered to have permission to make a la carte purchases unless a arent/guardian completes Form FS146, blocking or limiting purchases, and returns it to the school.
Online Debit/Credit Card Payments
Parents/guardians are able to make payments for school lunches with a debit or credit card and are able to check the balance of their student lunch accounts online at MySchoolBucks.com. Go to the district website at www.usd497.org/FoodService , then to MySchoolBucks.com.
NEW USERS ONLY - If you have never used this system before, be aware that you will need each child’s 8-digit student ID#
to set up an account with MySchoolBucks.com.
Low Balance Reminders
Automated phone calls are made twice weekly to parents via the Blackboard system. You may expect a phone reminder when a student account balance falls to $5.00 or less. Due to program constraints, these calls are made for each individual student account, so families with multiple children may receive more than one call.
Many parents have found the service provided by MySchoolBucks.com helpful. You may register at this site, and then look at student purchase histories or set up an email notification of low balances. This service is available to all parents even if they do not want to use the online payment program.
At the end of the school year, no refunds will be made on the account unless you are leaving the district. The balance in your account will be forwarded to the next school year, even if your child is attending a different school. If you have a student graduating high school, any balance remaining will be transferred to a younger sibling(s). If this is your last child graduating from the district, you may request a reimbursement form from the cashier for a refund check from the district.
Lunch payment checks that are returned due to insufficient funds currently go directly to RECHECK, Inc., a collection company in Wichita, KS. RECHECK will represent your check to your bank for payment of both face value and the fee.
There is a $30.00 return check fee that you will be responsible for in addition to any fees that your bank may charge.
Payment for the check and fee must be made to RECHECK, Inc. Payment cannot be accepted by the district or your school. Students may not make food purchases with a negative lunch account balance, so you will need to provide funds to keep a positive balance in your student’s lunch account. This is a separate transaction which does not negate the need to settle with RECHECK. You may reach RECHECK at 1-888-794-7325.
Competitive Food Rules
Competitive food is any food or beverage service available to students that is separate and apart from the district’s non- profit federally reimbursed food service program. The school board has adopted the following policy:
Building Sales – Competitive food service shall not operate in competition with the district’s food service program, and shall be closed for a period beginning one half hour prior to and remain closed until one half hour after the last regular scheduled school lunch and/or school breakfast period on the campus where the school lunch and/or breakfast is served.
Fast Foods – Fast foods in the building detract from the emphasis placed upon the Child Nutrition Program and District Wellness Initiatives. The district encourages students to participate in the district’s meal program; however, parents have the option to send food for breakfast or lunch if they prefer not to participate. The district does not recommend students or parents bring fast foods to school; however, if fast foods are brought to school, they may not be in the original packaging.
You may call the Food Service Office, 832-5000, for assistance during the hours of 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. After 4:30 p.m. you may leave a voice message and your call will be returned the next business day.