Meal Rates, Loan Program & Procedures

Des Moines Public Schools Food and Nutrition Services Department serves approximately 30,000 meals daily in our school nutrition services program. School meals are planned to reflect the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. We strive to provide a nutritious breakfast and lunch for all students at an affordable cost. We encourage children to develop good eating habits. Menus are published monthly on this site.



Meal Prices

Elementary Middle School High School
Breakfast Lunch Breakfast Lunch Breakfast Lunch
Single Full Price $.00 $2.80 $1.75 $2.85 $1.80 $2.95
Single Reduced Rate $.00 $.40 $.00 $.40 $.00 $.40
5-Day Full Price $.00 $14.00 $8.75 $14.25 $9.00 $14.75
5-Day Reduced Price $.00 $2.00 $.00 $2.00 $0.00 $2.00
20-Day Full Price $.00 $56.00 $35.00 $57.00 $36.00 $59.00
20-Day Reduced Price $.00 $8.00 $0.00 $8.00 $0.00 $8.00
A la Carte Milk $.50 Adult Breakfast $2.05
Adult Lunch $3.55

FREE AND REDUCED-PRICE MEALS

Families who earn less than 130 percent of the poverty level are eligible for free meals and those with incomes between 130 and 185 percent of poverty level qualify for reduced-price meals. In the Des Moines Schools, approximately 60 percent of the student enrollment qualifies for free or reduced-price meals. The prices for a paid breakfast and lunch are approved by the School board and the price of a reduced-price meal is established by the federal government.

To determine your eligibility for free or reduced-price meals, please read the guidelines and complete the application. Return it to the Central Nutrition Center, 1225 2nd Ave., Des Moines IA 50314. For more information about the application process, call 242-7636.

As the student goes through the lunch line he/she will enter their account number to purchase their meal. Students will be reminded by the cashier when their account balance falls below $5. Parents/Guardians are encouraged to maintain a positive account balance.


NEGATIVE MEAL BALANCE PROCEDURES

Negative balance messages are sent out twice a week by email and once a week by phone message.

ADULTS

  • Adults will not be allowed to charge meals or a la carte items.
  • Adults must have cash or money in their account to make a purchase.
  • Adults will be notified of their balance verbally at the cash register when their balance falls below $3.55 (not enough to cover the next adult meal).

ALL SCHOOLS

  • Students who qualify for free meals shall never be denied a reimbursable meal, even if they have accrued a negative balance from previous purchases. Students with outstanding debt that exceeds the allowable negative balance shall be allowed to purchase a meal if the student pays for the meal when it is received.
  • Parents and legal guardians can sign up for email notifications of when meal balances fall below a threshold set by the parents or legal guardians. More information can be found at: https://www.dmschools.org/departments/operations/food-nutrition/pay-for-school-meals-online/

HIGH SCHOOL

  • Student balances will be limited to negative $5 until the balance is paid in full.
  • Students will not be allowed to charge meals if the loan balance is below negative $5.
  •  An alternative meal is not provided.
  •  Students that receive reduced price meals will receive a reimbursable lunch at $0.40 even if their balance exceeds negative $5. Students that receive reduced price meals will receive a reimbursable breakfast at no cost.
  •  Students must have cash or money in their account to purchase a la carte items.
  •  Parents will be notified weekly by email for any negative balance and a phone call if the student’s account balance falls below negative $5. This contact is made from the Food & Nutrition Central Office.
  •  Students will be notified of their balance verbally at the cash register when their balance falls below $5.

MIDDLE SCHOOL

  • Student balances will be limited to negative $15 until the balance is paid in full.
  • Students who do not qualify for free or reduced prices meals will receive an alternative breakfast and/or lunch of a cheese sandwich and carton of milk when the loan balance exceeds negative $15. Their account will be charged $1.50 per alternative meal.
  • Food Service Staff will call parents or legal guardians the first day the child’s meal is altered and weekly thereafter if the incidence continues.
  • The alternative breakfast and lunch are available as a part of a reimbursable meal for all students if requested.
  • Students that receive reduced price meals will receive a reimbursable lunch at $0.40 even if their balance exceeds negative $15. Students that receive reduced price meals will receive a reimbursable breakfast at no cost.
  • Students must have cash or money in their account to purchase a la carte items.
  • Parents will be notified by email for any negative balance and a phone call if the student’s account balance falls below negative $5. This contact is made from the Food & Nutrition Central Office.
  • Students will be notified of their balance verbally at the cash register when their balance falls below $5.

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

  • Student balances will be limited to negative $75 until the balance is paid in full.
  • Students who do not qualify for free or reduced price meals will receive an alternative lunch of a cheese sandwich and a carton of milk when the loan balance exceeds negative $75. Their account will be charged $1.50 per alternative lunch.
  • Food Service Staff will call parents or legal guardians the first day the child’s meal is altered and weekly thereafter if the incidence continues.
  • The alternative lunch is available as a part of a reimbursable meal for all students if requested.
  • A reimbursable breakfast is available for all elementary students at no cost.
  • Students that receive reduced price meals will still receive a reimbursable lunch at $0.40 even if their balance exceeds negative $75.
  • Students must have cash or money in their account to purchase an extra milk or extra entrée.
  • For any student with an account balance greater than negative $50, Food Service staff will contact parents weekly to explain the negative balance policy and to remind parents they may apply for Free and Reduced meals at myshoolapps.com .
  • Parents will be notified by email for any negative balance and a phone call if the student’s account balance falls below negative $5. This contact is made from the Food & Nutrition Central Office.