710.4 Meal Charges


 In accordance with state and federal law, the Harlan Community School District adopts the following policy to ensure school district employees, families, and students have a shared understanding of expectations regarding meal charges. The policy seeks to allow students to receive the nutrition they need to stay focused during the school day, prevent the overt identification of students with insufficient funds to pay for school meals, and maintain the financial integrity of the nonprofit school nutrition program.

Payment of Meals

Household units have the use of a meal account.  When the household unit balance reaches $0.00 a household unit may charge no more than $15.00 to their household unit account.  When a household unit account reaches this limit, students within the household unit will only be allowed to charge an alternate meal until the negative balance is paid.  Once a payment is made that brings the account out of arrears the student will again receive the regular reimbursable meal. Payments may be done at any of the building offices or by going on the school website.  You may also send money in with your children.

Students who qualify for free meals shall never be denied a regular reimbursable meal, even if they have accrued a negative balance from previous purchases.

Negative Account Balances

It is the responsibility of the parents/guardians to monitor their student’s lunch account balances to insure adequate funds are available to purchase meals.  Household units will be notified of a low balance once the account reaches a predetermined amount as set by the district.  Additionally, the school district will make reasonable efforts to collect unpaid meal charges classified as delinquent debt. The school district will coordinate communications with household units to resolve the matter of unpaid charges.  When the account reaches -$0.01, families will be notified by telephone, email, or mail.  Negative balances of more than $100.00 will be turned over to the superintendent or superintendent’s designee for collection. Options may include:  collection agencies, small claims court, or any other legal method permitted by law.

Communication of the Policy

The policy and supporting information regarding meal charges shall be provided in writing to:

  • All households at or before the start of each school year;
  • Students and household units who transfer into the district, at time of transfer; and
  • All staff responsible for enforcing any aspect of the policy.

Records of how and when the policy and supporting information was communicated to households and staff will be retained.


Legal Reference:        42 U.S.C. §§ 1751 et seq.

                                    7 C.F.R. §§ 210 et seq.

                                    Iowa Code 283A.

                                    281 I.A.C. 58.