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707.4 Food Service Negative Balance Policy

Code No. 707.4

Decorah Community School District
Food Service Negative Balance Policy

The Decorah Community School Food Service Department is a self-operating program.  The district provides a breakfast and lunch Food Service Program for students to support healthy lifestyles and a balanced diet in accordance with law.

In order to maintain financial stability and equality of all students and staff paying for meals, the district must adopt a policy regarding meal accounts and balances.

The State of Iowa Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services recommends that negative account balances should not occur.

Each student has a computerized meal account.  Parents/guardians can pre-pay money into the student’s meal account.  Parents/guardians are responsible for monitoring the student’s account balance and depositing money into the account to ensure the student is able to purchase a meal if desired.  To ensure positive account balances, student accounts may not exceed a specified negative balance amount, which will be determined by the district on an annual basis.   When the negative charge limit is reached, the school district will notify parents/guardians.  Any student accounts below the district negative balance amount will not be allowed to charge a breakfast or lunch until the account has a positive balance.   If the student account balance is zero or negative, a la carte items may not be charged.  Parents/guardians of students with accounts in arrears will be asked to send a meal from home or an alternate meal with milk may be given to the student, until the account is paid in full or a payment schedule is arranged with the school and adhered to by the parents/guardians.

Middle school and high school students are notified of low meal account balances daily at the register.  Email notices are sent to parents/guardians regarding balances once the account reaches a positive $5.55 per individual or less which is set by the lunch system. Parents have the ability to set a higher limit if they wish.  Additionally, weekly notices of low meal account balances are sent home with elementary school students. 

The school district or an authorized third party may collect on delinquent meal accounts by exercising any and all remedies available in accordance with law.  Parents/guardians who fail to make payments for charges incurred on student meal accounts may be taken to Small Claims Court in order for the school district to recover the fees owed and other costs associated with the collection. 


This policy does not apply to any fees waived under an application for free or reduced price meals.


Date of Adoption:                                                       Legal References:


June 20, 2016                                                              42 U.S.C. 1758, as amended by Section 204

                                                                                    of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010,

                                                                                                                              P.L. 111-296; 281 Iowa Administrative Code 58