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Atascadero USD |  AR  3551  Business and Noninstructional Operations

Food Service Operations/Cafeteria Fund   

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Payments for Meals

With the exception of students who are eligible to receive meals at no cost, students may pay on a per-meal basis or may submit payments in advance. The Superintendent or designee shall maintain a system for accurately recording payments received and tracking meals provided to each student.

(cf. 3550 - Food Service/Child Nutrition Program)

(cf. 3552 - Summer Meal Program)

(cf. 3553 - Free and Reduced Price Meals)

(cf. 3555 - Nutrition Program Compliance)

At the beginning of the school year, and whenever a student enrolls during the school year, parents/guardians shall be notified of the district's meal payment policies and be encouraged to prepay for meals whenever possible. The Superintendent or designee shall communicate the district's meal payment policies through multiple methods, including, but not limited to:

1. Explaining the meal charge policy within registration materials provided to parents/guardians at the start of the school year

2. Including the policy in print versions and electronic versions of student handbooks, if provided to parents/guardians annually

3. Providing the policy whenever parents/guardians are notified regarding the application process for free and reduced-price meals, such as in the distribution of applications at the start of the school year.

4. Posting the policy on the district's web site

5. Establishing a system to notify parents/guardians when a student's meal payment account has a low or negative balance

(cf. 1113 - District and School Web Sites)

(cf. 5145.6 - Parental Notifications)

In order to avoid potential misuse of a student's food service account by someone other than the student in whose name the account has been established, the Superintendent or designee shall verify a student's identity when setting up an account and when charging any meal to the account. The Superintendent or designee shall investigate any claim that a bill does not belong to a student or is inaccurate, shall not require a student to pay a bill that appears to be the result of identity theft, and shall open a new account with a new account number for a student who appears to be subject to identity theft.

(cf. 1340 - Access to District Records)

(cf. 3580 - District Records)

Any payments made to a student's food service account shall, if not used within the school year, be carried over into the next school year or be refunded to the student's parents/guardians.

Unpaid and Delinquent Meal Charges

Once a student's school meal account has reached a negative balance of -$20.00, the Superintendent or designee shall so notify the student's parent/guardian. Before sending this notification, the district shall exhaust all options and methods to directly certify the student for free or reduced-price meals. If the district is not able to directly certify the student, the notice to the parent/guardian shall include a paper copy of, or an electronic link to, an application for free or reduced priced meals and the Superintendent or designee shall contact the parent/guardian to encourage submission of the application. (Education Code 49557.5)

The district may attempt to collect unpaid school meal fees from a parent/guardian, but shall not use a debt collector. (Education Code 49557.5)

The Superintendent or designee may enter into an agreement with a student's parent/guardian for payment of the student's unpaid meal charge balance over a period of time. As necessary, the repayment plan may allow the unrecovered or delinquent debt to carry over into the next fiscal year.

The district shall not direct any action toward a student to collect unpaid school meal fees. (Education Code 49557.5)

The district's efforts to collect debt shall be consistent with district policies and procedures, California Department of Education (CDE) guidance, and 2 CFR 200.426. The district shall not spend more than the actual debt owed in efforts to recover unpaid meal charges.

The Superintendent or designee shall maintain records of the efforts made to collect unpaid meal charges and, if applicable, financial documentation showing when the unpaid meal balance has become an operating loss.

Reimbursement Claims

The Superintendent or designee shall maintain records of the number of meals served each day by school site and by category of free, reduced-price, and full-price meals. The Superintendent or designee shall submit reimbursement claims for school meals to the California Department of Education (CDE) using the online Child Nutrition Information and Payment System.

Cafeteria Fund

All proceeds from food sales and other services offered by the cafeteria shall be deposited in the cafeteria fund as provided by law. The income and expenditures of any cafeteria revolving account established by the Board of Trustees shall be recorded as income and expenditures of the cafeteria fund. (Education Code 38090, 38091)

(cf. 3100 - Budget)

(cf. 3300 - Expenditures and Purchases)

The cafeteria fund shall be used only for those expenditures authorized by the Board as necessary for the operation of school cafeterias in accordance with Education Code 38100-38103, 2 CFR Part 200 Appendix VII, and the California School Accounting Manual.

Any charges to, or transfers from, a food service program shall be dated and accompanied by a written explanation of the expenditure's purpose and basis. (Education Code 38101)

Net cash resources in the nonprofit school food service shall net exceed three months average expenditures. (2 CFR 220.14)

U.S. Department of Agriculture Foods

The Superintendent or designee shall ensure that foods received through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are handled, stored, and distributed in facilities which: (7 CFR 250.14)

1. Are sanitary and free from rodent, bird, insect, and other animal infestation

2. Safeguard foods against theft, spoilage, and other loss

3. Maintain foods at proper storage temperatures

4. Store foods off the floor in a manner to allow for adequate ventilation

5. Take other protective measures as may be necessary

The Superintendent or designee shall maintain inventories of USDA foods in accordance with 7 CFR 250.59 and CDE procedures, and shall ensure that foods are used before their expiration dates.

USDA foods shall be used in school lunches as far as practicable, but also may be used in other nonprofit food service activities, with any revenues accruing to the district's nonprofit food service account. Such activities may include school breakfasts or other meals, a la carte foods sold to students, meals served to adults directly involved in the operation and administration of the food service and to other school staff, and training in nutrition, health, food service, or general home economics instruction for students. (7 CFR 250.60)


approved: April 4, 2000 Atascadero, California

revised: February 7, 2012

revised: December 11, 2018