Two boys waiting in the lunch line to get food.
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District 196 strives to provide nutritious meals to students to promote healthy eating habits and enhance learning, while maintaining the financial integrity of the food service program.

Parents and guardians are responsible for meal purchases made by their child unless they qualify for free or reduced-price meals. Money can be deposited into a student’s meal account online using FeePay, the district’s electronic payment system, or can be sent to school with the student. Parents can also elect to receive low-balance email alerts on FeePay.

While parents should replenish meal accounts before they are overdrawn, a regular school meal will not be taken away from a student with an overdrawn account. À la carte items are not allowed for students with an overdrawn account.

Reminders for payment of outstanding balances on student school meal accounts will be done with parents. Collection of unpaid meal debt is done in a manner that does not demean or stigmatize students.

When a student’s meal account reaches one remaining meal to a negative balance of five meals, the school food service manager will attempt to contact a parent or guardian to inform them that payment is required. If the student’s meal account reaches a negative balance of eight meals, the school will send a letter to the parents requesting payment. If no payment is made after the letter is sent, the district may refer the matter to a collection agency.

The district’s regulation on unpaid mail charges (710.2.2AR) and application for free or reduced-price school meals are available at District196.org.

Free or Reduced-Price Meals

Children may qualify for free or reduced-price meals based on federally established family income guidelines. Students who qualify based on reduced-price guidelines receive breakfast and lunch for free.

Families must apply for free school meals each year and may apply at any time during the year. For information about income guidelines and a link to the online application, go to www.district196.org/about/departments/food-and-nutrition-services/.

All kindergarten students can eat breakfast at school for free, regardless of income, and there is no need to apply.Funding for kindergarten breakfast is provided by the state.

Meal Prices

There are no changes in school meal prices for the 2018-19 school year. Breakfast is $1.45 for elementary students, $1.60 for secondary students and $2.05 for adults. Lunch prices are $2.50 for elementary students, $2.55 for middle school students, $2.65 for high school students and $3.70 for adults. The price for milk only remains 40 cents per carton.

Pay with FeePay

Parents are encouraged to use FeePay to add money to their child’s meal accounts, check balances and purchases, and set alerts to receive email reminders if/when their balances are low. To access an existing FeePay account or to set up a new account, go to https://district196.feepay.com/.

Local Lunch Days

Locally grown foods will be served once a month this year, identified as “Local Lunch” on school menus. Information about local lunch days is regularly featured in the in the Food and Nutrition Services Department’s monthly newsletter, Nutrition News Flash, available on the department website.

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