Nutrition Services Program
Breakfast & Lunch Available at All Schools
The Nutrition Services Program is operated by the Kent School District to support student achievement and success with nutritious food choices. Breakfast and lunch are served daily in all schools. All students pay the full cash price for meals unless they apply and receive a letter notifying them that they are eligible to receive free or reduced-cost meals.
If you have any questions regarding the Nutrition Services Program, please call (253) 373-7275 between 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Access current menus though the My School Menu website or mobile app available for free from the Apple and Google app stores. Either location allows you to view elementary, middle and high school menus, view nutritional information, translate menus into different languages and filter menus by allergens.
Nutrition Services does post .pdf file copies of monthly breakfast and lunch menus on the Kent School District website if you want to print a copy for reference.
- All K-12 students with reduced eligibility can eat breakfast free.
- All K-3 students with reduced eligibility can eat lunch free.
- The state of Washington reimburses Nutrition Services the $0.30 breakfast copay and the $0.40 lunch copay for meals eaten.
Grades K-6 Full Pay Meal Prices
- Breakfast: $1.75
- Lunch: $2.70
Grades 7-12 Full Pay Meal Prices
- Breakfast: $2.00
- Lunch: $3.20
Grades K-3 Reduced Meal Prices
- Breakfast and lunch: No charge
Grades 4-12 Reduced Meal Prices
- Breakfast: No charge
- Lunch: $0.40
Adult Meal Prices
- Breakfast: $2.50
- Lunch: $4.00
Individual Milk, Juice, Fruit, or Vegetable Price
- Breakfast and lunch: $0.50
Lactose-Free Milk Price
- Breakfast and lunch: $0.75
How Do I Pay for Lunch?
School district ID numbers identify each student’s personal meal account. The purchase of meals and ala-carte food choices are charged and documented in this account. Students can pay cash daily for their meal or you can:
- Deposit funds to a meal account by cash or check for any dollar amount at the school or with minimum deposits of $20.00 or more using your Visa or MasterCard credit or debit card at our on-line payment system LunchMoneyNow. Pre-paid balances ensure students have money to pay for meals and snacks and allow them to move quicker through serving lines.
- When sending a check, be sure to write the check to the name of the student’s school and include their name and ID number on the reference line. Be sure you sign the check and clearly indicate the dollar amount of the deposit.
- LunchMoneyNow is available online. After you set up your household account with a username and password, link one or more students in one family to this account. With one transaction, you can deposit funds into multiple student accounts. The LunchMoneyNow account also allows families to review student purchases and to set-up automatic text and e-mail notifications when account balances reach a minimum dollar amount.
- Staff in the Nutrition Services Office are always happy to assist anyone needing help setting up an account or completing a deposit. You can contact us (253) 373-7275 between 7:30 am to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please have your student’s ID number to help us reference the right account.
Free & Reduced Meal Program
Kent School District participates in the Federal National Breakfast and School Lunch Programs where eligible students can eat breakfast and/or lunch free or at a reduced price. Families must submit a new free and reduced application at the beginning of each new school year. Paper applications are available but families are encouraged to submit applications online through MealAppNow. The online program eliminates unnecessary or duplicate applications. Nutrition Services can review and send a letter notifying families if their student is eligible much quicker. The online application for the 2020-2021 school year will be available Monday, August 10.
Submitting an online or paper application does not automatically qualify a student to receive free or reduced meals. All students must pay the full cash meal price for breakfast and lunch meals until they receive an official letter from Nutrition Services approving them to receive free or reduced price meals. Students who receive approval for reduced meals benefits actually do receive some meals at no cost. The State of Washington reimburses the Kent School District the $ .30 breakfast co-pay for all students and the $ .40 lunch co-pay for K-3 students. Once a student who is qualified for reduced meals enters the 4th grade, they will be required to begin paying the $.40 co-pay for lunch.
Information on Application Process
- Children who are homeless, migrant, in foster care or live in a household that receives assistance through Basic Food, TANF or FDFIR generally do not need to submit an application as they are categorically eligible to receive free meals through a process called direct certification. Data from WA State is downloaded and matched to students registered for school in our district. Once a student has been identified as directly certified, their meal eligibility is automatically set as FREE. Letters notifying families if their children are directly certified will be in the mail the week of August 14-17 as well as throughout the year if household situations change.
- In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all children ages 0-18 years old are eligible to receive free meals through the end of the 2020-21 school year. Prior to this school year, students that were qualified for free or reduced price meals the previous year and didn’t receive notification they were directly certified for the new school year were allowed a grace period the first 30 days of school at their preceding year’s meal eligibility. This allowed families time to submit a new application. Letters normally were in the mail at the end of August to remind families to submit a new application. Under normal circumstances, if by early October families did not submit an application that was eligible, students would become full paying customers mid-October. Due to the pandemic, the 2019-2020 application has been extended through the 2020-2021 school year, but we encourage all families to re-apply as the application is tied to a variety of school funding and benefits. As a reminder, families may apply for free or reduced-price meals at any time throughout the year.
Households who have never applied or are new to the Kent School District, are encouraged to submit an application to see if their children would be eligible to receive free or reduced meals. Note for students transferring to the Kent School District: If a student was eligible to receive free or reduced meals at another WA school district, please contact the Nutrition Services Office immediately to tell us your student’s name and former school district, school, and grade. Although all children ages 0–18 years of age are eligible for free meals for the 2020-21 school year, it is helpful to have this information, as funding sources and benefits are attached to this application.
We encourage the use of MealAppNow, our online application, versus filling out a paper application. MealAppNow is the easiest way for families to submit their annual application regarding free or reduced meal benefits. We can review online applications much quicker and often notify a family by an email the same or next day whether their student is eligible to receive free or reduced meals. MealAppNow does not allow an incomplete application to be submitted which is the number one reason for delays in processing paper applications. Incomplete paper applications can add days and sometimes weeks to the approval process.
The online application is available to submit applications on Monday, August 10.
Negative Balances: Procedure for When Students do not Have Money to Pay for a Meal
Eating nutritious food during the school day is important to a student’s academic growth and achievement. Nutrition Services supports student success by allowing them to purchase meals without cash or money in their account so they do not go hungry. Once a student’s account is at or below -$ .01, Nutrition Services initiates courtesy phone calls Monday through Thursday to inform parents that a meal account is negative and payment is now due. Calls will continue until the negative account balance is paid. When a student continues to purchase meals after their meal account has gone negative, parents acknowledge they are responsible for paying for the balance owed resulting from those purchases.
If a student’s account will become or is negative at the time of purchase, they can only buy a meal and not ala carte items. Ala carte food purchases require a positive account balance or cash. This applies to students who are free or reduced that just want to buy milk or juice and not a meal. Any student can purchase milk, juice, fruit, or vegetable for $ .50 each.
If a student’s account balance exceeds -$15.00, the Nutrition Services Office will contact the parents by email or phone regarding the amount owed. Nutrition Services will continue attempts to contact and work with parents on a payment plan of the balance owed. Payment is required for any negative account balances by the end of each school year. If a family has experienced a change in income or household size, which affects their ability to pay for meals, Nutrition Services staff can assist the family in submitting an application to see if they now qualify to receive free or reduced meals.
Please call the Nutrition Services Office with any questions regarding negative balances. If a parent is interested, the Nutrition Office can place a flag on a student account to prevent purchases once the account is negative. Contact the Nutrition Services Office between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at (253) 373-7275. Individuals or groups interested in donating funds to help pay for meal debt for students should call the Nutrition Services Office for assistance.
State of Washington Basic Food Program
Families are encouraged to apply for Washington State’s Basic Food Program if their monthly income exceeds the federal eligibility chart but is equal to or less than the amounts in the Basic Food Program eligibility chart. Since the Basic Food Program income levels are slightly higher than the Federal Eligibility Guidelines, additional students can be qualified to receive free school meals. Basic Food is a food and nutrition program that helps individuals and families who meet the program’s income guidelines afford healthier foods by providing monthly benefits to buy food, gain access to affordable Health Care and qualify for reduced fare Orca Lift cards. Basic Food will also qualify your child for Free or Reduced School Meals.
Contact the Public Health of Seattle & King County by calling (206) 550-6119 for assistance. You can also apply in person at the local DSHS Community Service Office, by mail or online.
Food Allergies & Special Diets
Food allergies can be life-threatening. The risk of accidental exposure to foods can be reduced in the school setting if schools work with students, parents, and physicians to minimize risks and provide a safe educational environment for food-allergic students.
If you have questions regarding a student who has food allergies or special dietary needs, please contact the Nutrition Services Office at (253) 373-7275.
Lactose-free milk can be made available at school to accompany student meals or can be purchased separately for $0.75.
Additional Benefits for Students who qualify for Free or Reduced Meals
All families who submit a free or reduced application receive a letter to inform them if their child qualifies to receive free or reduced meals. Families whose student(s) qualify to receive free or reduced meals can use this letter as documentation to qualify for additional benefits. Benefits may include:
- Free or reduced-price medical/dental care
- Reduced monthly cost for internet services
- Reduced fees for musical instruments
- Assistance with tuition and books for students enrolled in the Running Start Program.
College Bound Scholarship Program
The College Bound Scholarship program encourages low-income, middle school students to choose a path that will lead to educational success after high school. The program promises tuition (at public institution rates) and a small book allowance for income-eligible students who sign up in grades 7 or 8, work hard in school, stay out of legal trouble, and successfully apply to a higher education institution when they graduate.
Students may sign up in grades 7 or 8, and need only apply once. The deadline for all applicants is by June 30 at the end of their eighth-grade year.