FAQs about school lunch

Q: If my child eats lunch every day, how much do I need to put in his or her account to last all school year?

  • 1 meal per day at Hamilton, Templeton and Silver Spring: $523
  • 1 meal per day at the elementary schools: $461

Q: If my child buys a milk every day, how much do I need to put in his or her account to last all school year?

  • 1 milk per day: $62

Q: Can I send cash with my child to pay for their lunch?

  • YES. Students can turn in cash or checks to their school office or the drop box in the high school cafeteria to be deposited into their account for that same day. If they forget to turn it in before lunch, they can pay with cash in line. We encourage students to turn their money in before lunch, to keep the lines moving quickly during lunch hours.

Q: Can I eat lunch with my student?

  • YES. Parents who properly check in with their school office can join their child for lunch. If you wish to purchase a meal, you can use your child’s account to pay or pay with cash in line. Adult meals cost $3.60.

Q: What happens when my child has a low fund balance?

  • When a student’s lunch balance falls below the equivalent cost of five meals, families are contacted each day until the balance is sufficient. If students are taking a regular hot lunch, their families would be notified five times before there is not enough money in their account to purchase a meal.
  • Auto refill is an option that automatically draws money from an account when a balance falls to a specific level set by the parent. Many parents find this option as a convenient way to ensure their children’s lunch accounts are not depleted.

Q: What if we cannot afford to pay for lunches?

  • No student is denied a lunch because of family income. Quarterly, Hamilton electronically matches student files to a state database of children in families enrolled in assistance programs or the foster care system to ensure those students are receiving free lunches. Families who do not participate in state programs can apply for and receive free or reduced lunch pricing if their income falls below federal guidelines. Applications can be submitted at any time throughout the school year.

Q: My family qualifies for free or reduced price lunches, how does that work?

  • Students who qualify for free lunches will receive one free meal per day. Students who qualify for reduced price lunches will pay 40 cents for one meal per day. Any additional items or meals are full price. These students will come through the line and punch in their code just like everyone else. There is no way for anyone to distinguish who is paying which price.

Q: Does the district have an emergency fund for students whose bank accounts have been depleted?

  • Emergency funds provided by parent groups are available at the elementary schools and Silver Spring Intermediate School only.

Q: What is the process when a student is in the lunch line and his or her lunch account has been depleted?

  • Elementary schools have emergency funds provided by parent groups that will cover the cost of two meals if a student lacks sufficient funds. On the third day and thereafter, students are provided an alternate lunch of a cheese sandwich, milk and fruit. Parents are asked to repay the emergency fund and the cost of the alternate meals. Elementary students do not go without lunch even if there are no funds in their account.
  • At Templeton and Hamilton, options for students are to pay for their lunch with cash on hand, call their parents to refill the account which takes minutes, take items they can’t pay for off of their tray, get food from their locker or borrow money from a friend. Students can also go to the school office where staff will problem solve with them.

Q: How long does it take for funds to be transferred from a family’s bank to the child’s lunch account?

  • Funds can be loaded via Infinite Campus in just minutes. Students are often able to complete transfers on their smart phones as they wait in line. There are occasional bank specific delays that occur, so we always recommend a 24-hour window when uploading funds to your child’s account.