5 Food Service

Elementary Food Service Program

It is the mission of Bemidji School Food Service program to provide healthy and satisfying breakfast and lunch meals to all students.  We believe that starting the school day with a nutritious meal is important to supporting student learning and positive behavior.  To this end, Bemidji School district offers FREE breakfast to all elementary students.  Lunch is $2.50 for elementary students.  Students who bring their lunch from home or students who are eating school lunch may purchase an extra milk for $.60.

Encouraging students to make healthy food choices and educating students on the benefits of healthy eating is supported by all staff during meals. In compliance with the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, all students will be required to take at minimum a half cup of fruit and/or vegetable at both breakfast and lunch.  A variety of fruits and vegetables are offered each meal in an effort to allow student choice and to encourage increased intake of fruits and vegetables. Students are not required to take all food groups offered in a meal, allowing greater student say in what they choose to eat.  However, choosing the entire meal offers the greatest nutritional and economic value for the student.

Applications for Educational Benefits to qualify for free and/or reduced-priced meals will be sent to district residents prior to the beginning of the school year.  These applications should be returned to the district food service office as soon as possible so eligibility can be determined.  A new application must be completed each school year.

With the passage of the “Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act”, change with the school lunch offerings began with the 2012-2013 school year.  Increased portions of fruits and vegetables as well as more whole grains will be incorporated into the lunch.  The new guidelines will also provide caloric minimums and maximums appropriate to the age of the student.  Sodium levels of all meals will also be lowered to meet the ten-year reduction plan as part of the HHFK Act.  With the new guidelines, students will be required to take a fruit or a vegetable each day as part of their lunch.  If the fruit or vegetable is not taken, the meal will be considered incomplete and the student will be asked to go back and choose one of the offerings.  Menus will include a variety of both fruits and vegetables, so students’ selection will be made easier.  Choosing the entire meal is the most nutritious and the most economical for everyone.

If elementary students want/need to purchase additional items with their lunch, they may purchase fruits and/or vegetables for $ .80.  We are promoting the increase of fruits and vegetables in their daily diet.  Extra milk with a meal as well as milk purchased for a lunch brought from home will cost $ .60 for ALL students, regardless of eligibility.

Breakfast and lunch are served daily to all students.  Breakfast is FREE for all elementary students and the price of lunch is $2.50.  Milk purchased for a lunch brought from home costs $ .60.  Please keep food service payments current.

Payments may be made to individual student meal accounts using your credit/debit card online with “Family Access” (follow directions posted on the site in August).  Using the online payment center allows you to credit your child’s account at anytime.  A $1.00 fee is charged to cover the cost of this convenience.  You may also mail payments to the district food service office or place them in an envelope and put them in a food service drop box located in elementary school offices, or the cafeteria/commons at the middle school and high school.  Personal checks should be written to ISD #31 with the student’s name and PIN in the memo area.  When sending cash, please place it in an envelope and write the student’s name, PIN, and the amount of money in the envelope.  We encourage parents/guardians to pay in advance of the first day of school to alleviate the time constraints students experience those first days of the school year.  This can be done at the food service office located at 502 Minnesota Ave NW Bemidji, MN 56601.  Please indicate the student’s name, grade, school and PIN on the check when sending it to the office prior to the start of the school year.

The district uses an Individual Meal Accounting System in all the schools where each student has their own individual account.  The PIN (Personal Identification Number) they are given remains with them for access to their account throughout all of their school years (K-12) in the district.  Meal accounts are debit accounts; therefore there must be money in the account for the student to use it.

Charging of meals is discouraged.  Food service staff will contact parents/guardians of negative meal accounts to arrange payment.  Since the entire district uses the Individual Meal Accounting System, accounts for students with positive or negative balances will be credited for the next school year.  Positive balances from one sibling will be transferred to another sibling to zero out a negative balance.  Students graduating from high school may have their account balances transferred to a younger sibling by calling the Food Service Office at: 333-3100 ext. 31141.  Refunds from accounts will only be sent if the balance is $5.00 or more.  A request for a refund must be made by the parent/guardian when a student is leaving the district.

Food Allergies and/or Special Diets

Please contact the food service office prior to your child/children beginning school if you have concerns related to their food allergies or special diets.  We must follow the guidelines of the USDA program yet can accommodate many diets.  A physician’s written note is required if we are to eliminate items from the program requirements and provide others as substitutions, as in the case of food allergies.  The physician recommends foods to be substituted into the diet.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call 333-3100 ext. 31142 or ext. 31141.



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