Unpaid Meal Charges

  • Students who do not have money on account or in hand to cover the cost of a meal at the time of service may be permitted to charge the meal.  Students may charge no more than $10.00 for full pay meals ($5.00 for reduced meals) to their accounts. 

    All communication regarding unpaid school meal charges must be directed to the parents for collection.  No child will be overtly identified if they owe unpaid meal charges. 

    Notices of negative balances in a student's meal account are sent to parents and the school principal.  Parents are expected to pay all meal charges in full by the last day of the school year. 

    If a parent regularly fails to provide meal money or send food to school with the student and the student does not qualify for free or reduced benefits, the child nutrition supervisor will inform the principal, who will determine the next course of action, 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 ensures that federal child nutrition funds are not used to offset the cost of unpaid meals and that the child nutrition program is reimbursed for bad debt.  In order to accomplish those goals, the following procedures are followed: 

    • Communications via automated phone calls and U.S. mail are sent to parents/guardians with unpaid student meal charges. Payment is requested and/or arrangements for a payment plan are offered.
    • If the debt is not paid and the student has left the school district, it is considered bad debt for the purposed of federal law concerning unpaid meal charges.

    Students who cannot pay for a meal at school or who owe a school meal debt are not required to do chores or other work to pay for such meal or wear a wristband or hand stamp or to be punished in any manner by the school or school district.

    Information can be found as part of RCPS Current Policies 9.15, School Meals and Snacks.