School Nutrition Program

The Yarmouth School Department shall take part, as feasible, in the National School Lunch and other food programs that may become available so that all children in the Yarmouth Schools have the opportunity to receive proper nourishment. 

The Yarmouth School accepts responsibility for providing free and reduced price meals and/or free milk to eligible children in the schools under its jurisdiction. 

Parents shall be advised that this program is available and eligibility criteria shall be made public. In accordance with the guidelines for participation in these programs, no child who a school employee believes is improperly nourished shall be denied a free lunch, or other food, simply because proper application has not been received from his/her parents or guardian. 

It shall be the policy in our schools that when school lunch is desired, payment is expected on that day or in advance by/for pupils not eligible for free lunches. Should there be any difficulty in obtaining such payment, the matter is to be resolved by direct contact with the parent (or student, if emancipated).  No student will be denied a meal regardless of whether they have funds available.


A “meal” offered to all students by the School Nutrition Program consists of multiple components in both breakfast and lunch as governed by Federal and State law.  

“Meal charging” refers to the purchase of a multiple component meal without any available funds and therefore recorded on a student account as a negative charge resulting in a negative balance.  

“À la carte” consists of individual food items, such as snack type items or drinks, as well as second meals.  

Standard of Practice

  • All students requesting a meal from the School Nutrition Program will receive their meal of choice regardless of whether they have funds available. 

  • No student will be prohibited from a school activity or otherwise openly identified because of money owed for school meals. 

  • Communication from the school department regarding the charging of meals will be with the student’s parent/guardian and not the student, except in the case of emancipated students.

  • Parents/guardians are responsible for on-time meal payments and the monitoring of student meal accounts.

  • Adults making purchases from the nutrition program are not allowed to charge meals or à la carte.

Administration of Policy

  • Families are encouraged to apply for free and reduced price meal benefits. Any family that falls into a negative balance will receive notification to encourage them to apply for these benefits.  

  • Families are encouraged to pre-pay for meals either online, with a check or cash.  Meal accounts will then be debited the appropriate amount.  Written notification of prepayment and student account monitoring options are available at the beginning of each school year, when new students transfer in mid-year, and is posted on the school website.  

  • Families will be notified of this policy before each school year begins and with each mid-year transfer.  This policy is also available on the school website.  

  • School administration will be notified on a weekly basis of student meal accounts that are below zero.  Parent/guardians will be contacted via email or phone, or students may be asked to carry a letter home.  In cases where students are habitually in debt, a principal may meet with the parents/guardians to discuss the issue.  

  • Students inquiring directly about their meal account balance will be informed and treated with dignity. 

  • Middle and High School students are not allowed to purchase à la carte without the appropriate funds.  In these instances, students will be informed at the point of sale that they do not have sufficient funds.

  • Middle and High school students with account balances less than ten dollars may be informed that their account balance is getting low.  

  • All unpaid meal charges may be carried over at the end of the school year (beyond June 30), or transferred to a sibling account, and collection efforts may continue into the new school year.  

  • When school administration determines that further collection efforts for delinquent debt are useless or too costly, the debt will be classified as “bad debt.” Per federal law (2 CFR 200) this balance cannot be paid with School Nutrition Program funds and the debt will be billed to the School Department for payment. 

  • Parents/guardians of graduating students or students transferring out of district will be contacted if any balance remains on their meal account.  It will either be transferred to a sibling account, refunded by check, or it may be donated to the Nutrition Program.  Donations to the program can be designated for unpaid student meals, food purchases from local farms, classroom cooking demonstrations, or cafeteria taste tests.   

No student is to be denied food as a disciplinary measure. 

The administration shall establish and publish, as appropriate, procedures that conform with state and federal requirements and the intent of this policy regarding participation in programs for free/reduced price meals and supplementary food. 

Legal Reference: 20-A MRSA§6602(2)(A)
Adopted: Prior to 1982
Revised: June 8, 1992, November 14, 2019