Negative Account Policy

On August 31, 2016, the School Nutrition Program at Michigan Department of Education sent the Administrative Policy No. 6 School Year 2016-2017 to all districts participating in the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, Afterschool Snack, and Special Milk Programs. The subject of the administrative policy was the Negative Balance Compliance Requirements.

We are mandated by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Michigan Department of Education (MDE) to develop and implement a policy regarding negative meal account balances and policy regarding bad debt and its collection by the end of the fiscal year. These policies do not have to be included in the local board of education policies and procedures manual, but must be reviewed and approved by the board.

RECOMMENDATION:

  1. Include the Negative Meal Account Procedure in the Student/Parent Handbook.

  2. Communicate to all school administrators, school food service staff, families and students, school social workers and nurses, the homeless liaison and any other staff members that may assist students in need.

NEGATIVE MEAL ACCOUNT PROCEDURE:

Holt families are expected to provide a lunch from home or provide their child with cash or maintain funds in their meal account to purchase school meals and a la carte items.  Pre-payments are strongly encouraged as they help our food service lines move faster, thus providing more time for the students to eat. 

Payments can be made in several ways:

 

  1. On-line payment can be made with SendMoneytoSchool.com: This system allows parent/guardian to make payments with Master Card, Discover Card or Visa at their convenience through Skyward Family Access, with a $1.00 convenience fee

  2. Cash or check can be sent to school with the students.  For the younger students in K-6th, we ask parents to send the cash or check in a sealed envelope with the student’s name clearly marked.  A fee of $15.00 is charged for any returned checks due to insufficient funds. Checks should have the students name in the memo line
  3. A student can make payments at any time during meal service with cash or check.
  4. For families with more than one student, when sending money with your student to be deposited please be aware of the following. Along with the check/cash indicate how the funds are to be divided to each member of your household.
  5. For emergency payments, please contact the Food Service office at (517) 699-1111

When a meal account becomes negative, no a la carte items, extra entrees or milk (e.g. cold lunch student wanting milk) will not be allowed.

Students who are eligible for free breakfast and lunch will not be denied a meal due to a negative balance, however, they will not be allowed to make any a la carte purchases or an extra entrée purchase until payment is deposited to bring the negative account to a positive balance.

We at Holt Public Schools denounce school lunch shaming of all students. Every effort will be made by Holt Public Schools to keep parent(s)/guardian(s) informed regarding their family account. When a student receives an alternative lunch, it is important to know that we are not removing a lunch from the student. What is being removed is the student’s choice of the A or B entrée, we would like our learning community to know that this is not something we want to do to our students. It is not the fault of the individual student however, it is ultimately the responsibility of the parent/guardian to maintain a positive meal account balance so that their children can be provided meals during the meal service.

Balance notifications are done in several ways:
 
  1. SendMoneyToSchool: parents have the ability to track all purchases and payments made in the family account.  We highly encourage parents/guardians to utilize this system in managing their account.
  2. Auto-email alerts of balances of $10.00 or below are sent to those who wish to participate in this system.
  3. When the account becomes negative by -$0.01 all students K-12 will be given a verbal notice. In addition, K-6th graders are given a low balance notice to take home at the end of the day and are included in their Friday folders.  Students 7-12th grade are given verbal notice only.
  4. At the end of each week, negative balance letters are sent via USPS requesting payments.
  5. Should the negative balance get to -$15.00 or more, a personal call will be made by the Food Service Director to let parents/guardians know that they will need to provide meals from home for their child(ren) until funds are deposited in the account. In addition to a phone call from the Food Service Director, cashiers will inform students that they have reached the -$15.00 limit.

It is highly recommended to immediately reconcile a negative account balance by either sending money in with the student to put in the account or via web payments to get the account in a positive balance.  If your financial circumstances change during the school year, you are welcome to complete a family application for meal assistance program at any time.  Forms are available in the main office of your child’s school or download the application by going to www.hpsk12.net/district/food service

PAY IT FORWARD ASSISTANCE FOR OUR FAMILIES  

Families that need assistance paying for their school meals are welcome to apply for a scholarship. The scholarship for the family will depend upon the balance that is in the Pay it Forward account. The Food Service department will work closely with our community partners and PTO organizations to make sure that all our students are able to have a nutritious and full meal at lunch. Food Services will do the best we can to accommodate scholarship requests. 

If you have questions regarding your family meal account, call the Food Service office at 517-699-1111.

Adopted by the Board of Education June 14, 2021