Free and Reduced-Price Meals
How does a child qualify for free and reduced-price meals? Eligibility is generally based on family income, family size, and if the family has a food stamp number. The guidelines can be found on the free/reduced application.
- How do I get an application? Applications are available at the school office, the cafeteria, or the Child Nutrition office in the Administration building. New students are given an application upon registration.
Is there an online application available? Yes, and it is the fastest way to have an application approved. Parents may access the online application in English or Spanish through a link on the Child Nutrition web page or directly at www.schoollunchapp.com
National Breakfast/Lunch Program
Is the school district required to meet any nutritional guidelines? The federal government requires that meals served in our cafeterias meet specific guidelines regarding portion size, food choices, and content.
Offer versus Serve
What is a reimbursable meal? Only meals that meet the government requirements for meal patterns are subsidized. We follow the Traditional meal pattern from the USDA, so five food components are offered at lunch each day. These are 1) Meat or meat alternates, 2) Vegetables, 3) Fruit, 4) Grains, and 5) Milk. In order for a meal to be reimbursable at least 3 of these 5 food groups need to be chosen, and at least 1 of these 3 must be a Fruit or Vegetable.
How many fruits and vegetables can be selected as part of a lunch meal? Each day at least two vegetables and two fruit choices are offered at lunch. Students may choose up to two vegetables and one or two fruits as part of a lunch meal without an additional charge. If more servings are desired, they may be purchased a la carte.
Who determines what food choices will be available on the daily menu? The reimbursable menus are planned to meet the federal nutrition guidelines, while considering the preferences of the students. In addition, nutritional analysis is conducted by a Registered Dietitian on all reimbursable menus to be sure that they meet the RDA for each age group.
What efforts are made to keep foods at the correct temperatures? Hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) procedures are followed to verify that food is cooked or held at safe temperatures. Therefore, temperatures are monitored during receiving, storage, preparation, cooking, cooling, reheating, holding, assembling, packaging, transporting, and serving.
Why are a la carte foods sold in my school? Government guidelines allow the Child Nutrition Department to sell a la carte items that meet certain nutrition values, such as baked chips or small ice cream. If a parent does not want their child to be able to purchase any of these items, they should send a note to the Cafeteria Manager.
Why do adult meals cost more than student meals? We do not receive any monetary or commodity reimbursement for adult meals, so we are required to charge higher prices for their meals. Federal regulation prohibits us from giving free lunches to adults or from utilizing program funds for the purpose of subsidizing adult meals.
· Students that usually pay full or reduced prices for breakfast are offered this meal for free (even though the government does not pay the difference).
· Students still need to pay for lunch as usual.
· This program is being offered in an effort to enhance the education of our students. Studies show that students who eat breakfast each day have higher test scores and longer attention spans. Teachers report that students demonstrate increased on-task behaviors, as well as decreased tardiness, physical complaints, and disruptions.
How can parents pay for meals? Cash payments may be sent in sealed envelopes labeled with student names and ID numbers. Online credit or debit card payments may also be made by going to www.MySchoolBucks.com and creating a student meal account. In order to do so, parents will need the student ID number and the school zip code.
· Parents may check purchases and account balances from this account. They may also set low balance limits so the system alerts them when another payment is needed.
· If a family has more than one child in the District, they can handle all online prepayments from the same online account.
· Payments may be made with a major credit or debit card.
· In order to use the online prepayment service, a small convenience fee for each transaction will be assessed to cover the bank fees. The convenience fee is $1.95 per deposit transaction. Parents placing money into multiple meal accounts will only be assessed the $1.95 fee once per deposit transaction. Pasadena School District will not profit from the use of this site.
What is the Biometric system and how does it work? In the 2008-09 school year, most Pasadena schools began using the Biometric system to increase the efficiency and security of serving line transactions. The Biometric system consists of a fingerprint reader that identifies each student as he or she passes through the serving line and sends the students identification to the Point of Sale software. An advantage to the Biometric input system is that it does not require students to memorize their ID number. The images of the fingerprints are NOT stored in any database at any time. Instead, the biometric software stores the fingerprint as a calculated number. This makes the biometric software extremely secure because it prevents anyone from having access to an image of a student's fingerprint.
How does the Child Nutrition Department assist in educating the students on nutrition? The Child Nutrition Services Department participates in local health fairs and conducts nutrition presentations at the campus level. Age appropriate nutrition education information is posted on our serving lines. In addition, a nutrition education newsletter called "Nutrition Nuggets" is sent home with all elementary school students monthly. On the department web site, links may also be found to several nutrition education sites.