News from Food Services – meal prices, free and reduced, and nutrition

| August 11, 2015

PIN - QE 8-13  2-eSOLSchool cafeterias are meeting tough new federal nutrition standards for school meals, ensuring that meals are well-balanced and provide students with all the nutrition they need to succeed at school.  Students are making a healthy lifestyle choice when they eat lunches served by their school’s cafeteria.  School meals offer students 1% or fat-free milk, a large variety of fruits and vegetables, proteins and grains, and school meals are required to meet strict limits on saturated fat, sodium levels and portion size.  Now is a great time to encourage your kids to choose school meals!

The Solanco Food Service Department is providing the following information to help parents prepare for the upcoming 2015-2016 school year:

Applying for Free/Reduced Meals:  Parents may apply for free or reduced priced meals for their child(ren) anytime during the school year.  There are four ways that parents can apply for free or reduced meal benefits:

  1. Parents can fill out the paper application that was mailed to each household and submit to the Central Administration Office,
  2. Parents can fill out an application and submit it online through at (please visit the Food Service Department’s page on the Solanco website for more instructions),
  3. Parents can apply for free or reduced benefits by visiting the state’s website at,
  4. Parents can print and fill out the paper application from the Food Service portion of the District’s website and submit to the Central Administration Office.

No application is needed for children automatically approved for free meals through the state.  If parents of children who have been approved for free or reduced meal benefits do not want to receive the benefits, the parents must submit in writing their request for the free or reduced meals to stop.  Written requests may be mailed to the district office or you can email your request to Food Service Department Assistant Director Megan Minchhoff.  Any student who received free or reduced meals last school year will remain in the program until a new 2015-2016 application is processed, or through October 15, 2015.  If you a new application is not received and processed by October 15, 2015, the student will be removed from the free/reduced meal program and it will be your responsibility to pay for their meals.

Paying for Student Meals:  All account balances as well as negative balances from the 2014-2015 school year will transfer to the new school year.  It is imperative that negative balances from last school year be taken care of immediately.  The school district encourages prepayment for meals and expects all meals to be paid for in advance. Payments for meals may now be made online with a valid credit card at  There is a nominal fee charged when a credit/debit card is used to put money on a child’s account through lunch prepay.  The website allows parents to make payments at any time of day, view their child’s balance, and receive a report of student account activities. Parents can still submit payment through their child’s school by using the coin envelope.  Parents with children in different schools who use the coin envelope to make payments are asked to use a separate envelope for each building.  Payments can also be made at the Central Office.  Please note that it usually takes one full business day (24 hours) for an online payment to appear in a child’s account.

Cost of Meals:

Breakfast:  $1.40 for high school and middle school full-pay students

$1.25 for elementary school full-pay students

$.25 for reduced pay students

Lunch:    $2.50 for high school and middle school full-pay students

$2.25 for elementary school full-pay students

$.40 for all reduced pay students

Point of Sale System (Meals Plus):  All students use a PIN (personal identification number).  Returning students will use the same PIN number as the previous year.  Parents who do not know their child’s PIN number are asked to call Megan Minchhoff at (717) 786-5621 to obtain the number.  Students enter their PIN to access their account.  The cashier will see the student’s name and picture to assure the student is using the correct account.  The price of the school breakfast/lunch is deducted from the child’s account, along with any extras.  If a parent does not want their child to purchase extras, the parent should contact the cafeteria manager in their child’s school. Requests from parents are included in the children’s screens so cashiers can monitor parent requests, but it is imperative that parents discuss with their children at home.

Breakfast Requirements:  New breakfast requirements were set by USDA starting with the 2013-2014 school year.  New requirements are as follows:  ½ of grains served must be whole grain rich, offer weekly grain ranges, meet calorie ranges, and contain zero grams trans fat per portion. Every day for breakfast the following components will be offered for students:  grain, meat/meat alternative, fruit and milk.  Students are required to take a minimum of 3 items out of the 4 items offered.  New for 2014-2015, in order to get the breakfast price, 1 of the 3 items must be a fruit.  If a child does not take a complete meal, he or she will be charged a la carte prices for each item selected.

Lunch Requirements:  Beginning school year 2012-2013 and continuing through school year 2015-2016, school lunches are meeting additional standards requiring age-appropriate calorie limits, larger servings of vegetables and fruits (students must take at least one serving of either a fruit or vegetable), a wider variety of vegetables including dark green and red/orange vegetables and legumes, fat-free or 1% milk, 50% whole grains, and reduced sodium levels.  At lunch, the following required components are offered daily:  grain, meat/meat alternative, fruit, vegetables and milk.  Students are required to take a minimum of 3 items out of the 5 components offered.  If a child does not take a complete meal, he or she will be charged a la carte prices for each item selected.

Menus:  In order to save paper and “go green,” all menus will be posted on the Food Service webpage every month.

Allergies:  If a child has an allergy to a certain food or product, parents are asked to email the Food Service Department to ensure that the POS system and the cafeteria managers are aware of the student’s allergy.

Cafeteria Account Refund:  Parents who wish to have their child’s cafeteria account refunded for any reason are asked to download the Cafeteria Refund Application, complete it and return it to the district office.

Contact Information:  For questions on the menu, pricing or  new food regulations, please call Food Service Director Matt Kirchoff at 786-8401.  For questions on applications, the use of PIN numbers, or the new online payment system, please email Assistant Food Service Director Megan Minchhoff or call her at 786-5621.

Category: Elementary News, Featured Stories, High School News, Middle School News

About the Author ()

Keith Kaufman is the Director of Community Relations for Solanco School District. 786-5617.

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