Child Nutrition » Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Free and Reduced-Price Meals

  • How does a child qualify for free and reduced-price meals? Eligibility is based on family income, family size, and if the family has a food stamp number. The guidelines can be found on the free/reduced application.
  • How do I get an application? During the registration process all families will have the opportunity to complete the online free and reduced-price meal application. Paper applications will be available in the front office of your child's school or at the Child Nutrition office located at 309 West P Street. New students are given an application upon registration.
  • Is there an online application available? YES! Go to
  • How long does it take to process an application? Online applications are processed in 3 working days. Upon receipt of a completed paper application, the Child Nutrition Department has 10 business days to process the application. You will receive an approval/denial letter through email.
  • Will parents need to pay for a child's lunch until the application is processed? Yes. If meals are charged before the day a child's application is approved, charges are not paid later by the government. Parents must still pay for charged meals before the application approval.
  • Do Pre-Kindergarten students automatically qualify for free/reduced meals? No, applications for Pre-K students are approved through the campus as free, reduced, or paid.
  • What does the school district do to protect the personal information about a child? All information is kept confidential in the Child Nutrition office and is only given to authorized school district officials.

National Breakfast/Lunch Program

  • Is the school district required to meet any nutritional guidelines? The federal government requires that meals served in our cafeterias meet specific guidelines regarding portion size, food choices, and content (protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fat).
  • What items does a school breakfast consist of? A school breakfast is made up of three components: grain, fruit and/or juice, milk. Meat/meat alternate may be substituted for grain items. Menu items are made up of one or more of these components. Students must select 3-4 items to have a complete meal and one of these items MUST be a fruit or juice. If a student selects less than the required number of components to make a complete meal, he/she will be charged a la carte prices.
  • What does a school lunch consist of? A school lunch is made up of five components: meat/meat alternate, grain, fruit, vegetable, and milk. Menu items are made up of one or more components. Students must select 3-5 components to have a complete meal and one of these items MUST be a fruit or vegetable. If a student selects less than the required number of components to make a complete meal, he/she will be charged a la carte prices.
  • Who determines what food goes on my child's tray? By federal law, school personnel must allow the child to choose what he/she wants to eat from the selections available
  • What is a reimbursable meal? A complete breakfast or lunch. The government reimburses the child nutrition program for each complete meal that is served.
  • How many fruits and vegetables can be selected as part of a lunch meal? Elementary and Jr. High students may select two vegetables and one fruit choice for the day. North Campus and Wolters students may select two vegetables and two fruit choices for the day. If more servings are desired, they may be purchased a la carte.

Menu Selection/Quality

  • Who determines what food choices will be available on the daily menu? The reimbursable menus are planned to meet the federal nutrition guidelines, while considering the preferences of the students.
  • What efforts are made to keep foods at the correct temperatures? Hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) procedures are followed to verify that food is cooked or held at safe temperatures. Therefore, temperatures are monitored during receiving, storage, preparation, cooking, cooling, reheating, holding, assembling, packaging, transporting, and serving.
  • Why are a la carte foods sold in my school? Government guidelines allow the Child Nutrition Department to sell a la carte items that meet certain nutrition values, such as baked chips or ice cream. If a parent does not want their child to be able to purchase any of these items, they should send a note to the Cafeteria Manager.
  • How do I know what is on the menu? At the beginning of the school year, menus are sent home with students in Elementary and Jr. High. Menus for all campuses are posted on this web site.

Meal Payments

  • What is the cost of a student breakfast and lunch? For the 2023-2024 meals prices are below:
Student Breakfast (PK): No Charge
Student Lunch (PK): No Charge
Student Breakfast (Elementary): No Charge
Student Lunch (Elementary): $2.35
Student Reduced Price Lunch (Elementary): $.40
Student Breakfast (Jr. High): No Charge
Student Lunch (Jr. High): $2.50
Student Reduced Price Lunch (Jr. High): $.40
Student Breakfast (North): No Charge
Student Lunch (North): $2.75
Student Reduced Price Lunch (North): $.40
Student Breakfast (South): $2.75
Student Reduced Price Breakfast (South): $.30
Student Lunch (South): $3.85
Student Reduced Price Lunch (South): $.40
Adult Breakfast: $3.25
Adult Lunch: $5.00
  • Why do school meals cost more at South Campus? South Campus does not participate in the National School Breakfast or Lunch programs so the school receives no reimbursement for free, reduced, or paid meals provided to students. The "meal deal" at lunch consists of a main dish, one side, and a choice of milk or water. Students can get this meal at the free rate, reduced-price (.40), or full price (3.85). Lunch meals can be purchased at Food on the Move and Buck's Diner. The "meal deal" at breakfast consists of a main dish, juice and milk. Students can get this meal at the free rate, reduced-price (.30), or pay full price (2.75). Breakfast meals can be purchased at Food on the Move.
  • Why do adult meals cost more than student meals? We do not receive any government reimbursement for adult meals, so we are required to charge higher prices for their meals. Federal regulation prohibits us from giving free lunches to adults or utilize program funds for the purpose of subsidizing adult meals.
  • Do you have a charge policy? Yes, students are allowed a 3-day grace period to charge meals. After the 3-day grace period, students will receive a courtesy meal of 2 pieces of toast and milk for breakfast or a hamburger, fruit, and milk for lunch. Student accounts are not charged for the courtesy meal. Once the charges are paid, students may charge again according to the policy above. Students may never charge a la carte items. When a meal account has a negative balance, the Deer Park ISD Child Nutrition office sends emails to parents daily and the child's school either calls or sends a letter home to parents weekly.
  • How can parents pay for meals? Cash payments may be sent in a sealed envelope labeled with student name and ID number. Online credit or debit card payments may also be made by going to and creating a student meal account. In order to do so, parents will need the student ID number and the school zip code.
· Parents may check purchases and account balances from this account. They may also set low balance limits so the system alerts them when another payment is needed.

· If a family has more than one child in the District, they can handle all online prepayments from the same online account.

· Payments may be made with a major credit or debit card.

· In order to use the online prepayment service, a small convenience fee for each transaction will be assessed to cover the bank fees. The convenience fee is $2.75 per deposit transaction. Parents placing money into multiple meal accounts will only be assessed the $2.75 fee once per deposit transaction. Deer Park I.S.D. will not profit from the use of this site.