Frequently Asked Questions
How does a family apply for free or reduced priced meal benefits for a student?
Nutrition Services utilizes an online application to determine a student’s eligibility for free or reduced priced meals. The online application is available to families beginning in mid-August annually. The application, in English and Spanish, can be found at: https://freeandreducedmeals.com/lfserver/Bellevue_Landing_Page_20-21.
Applications in other languages: USDA provides applications for school meal benefits in nearly 50 languages. Foreign language applications can be downloaded from the USDA website . Paper applications should be mailed to Nutrition Services at 12037 NE 5th St Bellevue, WA 98037 for processing.
Can a student qualify for meal benefits (free or reduced price) without completing a school meal application?
Yes. The Nutrition Services Department directly certifies students for meal benefits through a data matching process with DSHS. Families who receive assistance benefits from programs such as Basic Food, TANF or FDRIP are automatically qualified for free meals through this matching process which occurs several times during the school year. Students eligible for Medicaid benefits may qualify for free or reduced priced meals. Additionally, free meals are extended to students who are certified as McKenney Vento (Homeless), Migrant, Foster, or ECEAP.
Families whose students qualify for free or reduced priced meals through systems other than the online application, should complete the Consent to Share School Meal Eligibility Form if they are interested in pursuing Fee Waivers, Summer Programs, Early Learning Programs or are interested in being connected with the Family Connections/Health Services Centers. The Consent to Share Form is mailed to families along with their eligibility letter notifying them of the student’s qualification for free or reduced price meals. Families may additionally contact the Nutrition Services Department at (425) 245-4507 or firstname.lastname@example.org to access the form.
How are families informed if they qualify for free or reduced price meal benefits?
Once processing is completed, families are mailed a letter identifying the student’s eligibility for free, reduced or paid meals. Processing of meal benefit applications may take up to 10 days. Families are encouraged to complete the online application as early as possible to ensure that a student’s eligibility status is properly established for the school year. Families requesting a replacement eligibility letter for sports or academic purposes may contact Nutrition Services at (425) 456-4507 or email@example.com.
Do families need to complete an application for free or reduced price meal benefits each year?
Yes. Students returning to a school in the Bellevue School District start the first 30 days of the school year retaining their prior year’s eligibility for free or reduced priced meals. Families are encouraged during this initial time period to submit an application for the current year for processing. Families who do not have a current year application for their student processed during the first 30 school days will “rollover” to the paid status on the 31st school day which is typically mid-October. Families are responsible for the cost of meals provided to a student prior to eligibility for free or reduced priced meals being established.
Can a family submit an application for school meal benefits anytime during the year?
Yes. While applications for the current year are typically processed from August to October, if a family’s income or household size changes during the year, an online application can be submitted (or resubmitted) to determine eligibility for free or reduced priced meals. Application processing closes on June 30th of each school year.
What is included in a meal?
All students, regardless of their eligibility for free, reduced or paid meals, are offered a variety of entrée options each day. These entrée options are served through the “main line” in the cafeteria. In addition to entree’s, students in the main line may select from a variety of fresh, canned or dried fruits and vegetables on the salad bar and pick their choice of milk (1% or non-fat white milk, non-fat chocolate milk, lactose free milk or soy milk). In order to count as a reimbursable USDA school meal – of the five food groups offered (milk, fruit, vegetable, grain, meat or meat alternate) students must take what amounts to three servings out of the five groups. A ½ cup serving of a fruit and/or vegetable is required to be one of the three choices.
In schools where a breakfast program is offered, all students, regardless of their eligibility for free, reduced or paid meals, are offered a variety of entrée options each day. In addition to entree’s, students may select from a variety of fresh, canned or dried fruits, 100% fruit juice and pick their choice of milk (1% or non-fat white milk, non-fat chocolate milk, lactose free milk or soy milk). In order to count as a reimbursable USDA school meal – of the four food groups offered (milk, fruit, grain, meat or meat alternate) students must take what amounts to three items out of the four groups, a ½ cup fruit serving is required to be one of the three items.
Snack Bars & A la Carte Options
In addition to the “meal”, Nutrition Services provides students with the opportunity to purchase additional food or beverage items through a la carte choices available on the main line or in the Middle & High School Snack Bars which are operated by the department. Signage is displayed in the serving area which identifies the cost for each item. A la carte or snack bar items may be purchased with cash or through a student’s school meal account. Snacks may not be charged to a student’s account if they do not have money.
Examples of items sold a la carte or through the snack bar during lunch include bottled water, carbonated fruit juices, bottled juices, chips, cookies, fresh fruit cups, a single slice of pizza, bagel and cream cheese, yogurt parfaits, etc.
How do you pay for school meals?
Nutrition Services offers a variety of convenient ways to pay for school meals. Checks and cash are accepted by the Lunchroom Cashier either as a pre-paid deposit to a student’s account or for purchasing individual meals, milk or other a la carte item. Checks should be made payable to Bellevue School District (or BSD).
Student meals may also be paid for with a credit card online or by phone using PayPams. PayPams requires the Student’s ID number or meal account pin number (provided by the school) to create an account. PayPAMS will charge a $1.95 fee per family, rather than per student for online payments. Parents may monitor their student’s account history and view purchases without a fee.
What are the school meal prices for the 2020-21 school year?
Elementary: Breakfast $2.25 and Lunch $3.50
Middle School: Breakfast $2.50 and Lunch $3.75
High School: Breakfast $2.50 and Lunch $3.75
Students who are eligible for reduced priced meals may participate in the breakfast program (if offered at their school) for free at all grade levels. The State of Washington provides funding to the Nutrition Department for the $.30 copay that these students would normally have been charged. Reduced price meal eligible students in grades PK and 4-12 are charged a $.40 copay for lunch. Those in grades K-3 may enjoy lunch for free as the State of Washington additionally provides funding for this copay.
How does a family request a refund on their student’s school meal account?
A family may request a refund of their student’s school meal account by completing the Request for Account Adjustment Form. Forms are available from the Lunchroom Cashier or Kitchen Manager. Forms may additionally be requested from the Nutrition Services office at (425) 456-4507 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Processing of refunds may take 14-21 days. Cash refunds or credit card returns are not available.
Is it possible to move funds between the school meal accounts of two siblings?
Yes. Requests for transfers between student accounts may be made by completing the Request for Account Adjustment Form. Forms are available from the Lunchroom Cashier or Kitchen Manager. Forms may additionally be requested from the Nutrition Services office at (425) 456-4507 or email@example.com.
Where can I find a school breakfast and lunch menu?
Menus for elementary, middle and high schools are available on the Menus & Nutritional Information page.
Which schools offer breakfast?
Elementary: Ardmore, Enatai, Lake Hills, Newport Heights, Phantom Lake, Sherwood Forest, Stevenson, and Woodridge.
Middle: Highland and Odle.
High: Bellevue, Interlake, Newport and Sammamish.
A child has a special dietary need. May they still participate in the school meal program at their school?
Yes, but a Diet Prescription, completed by the child’s physician, must be submitted to Nutrition Services first to ensure that proper foods are provided. Families and students can access nutritional fact and allergen information on the Nutrition Services website.
Diet Prescription forms may be downloaded from the Food Allergies & Special Dietary Needs page.
How do I contact Bellevue's Nutrition Services Department?
Nutrition Services office hours are 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.
12037 NE 5th St.
Bellevue, WA 98005
(425) 456-4586 fax