2022-23 Food and Nutrition Services Newsletter


Food and Nutrition Services logo with a black circle on a field background with an apple and carrot

Are You Ready for the 2022–23 Meal Program Changes? 

Northshore School District, like most districts in Washington, will again charge for school lunch and breakfast at the start of the 2022 school year. The Federal COVID-19 waivers that have allowed U.S. public schools to offer free breakfasts and lunches to all students regardless of income expired this last June. 

Since March of 2020, more than 50 waivers were issued by USDA to allow for additional funding and flexibility in school meal programs. During this time, Northshore served more than 4.38 million free meals to children in our community and schools. 

Photo of school meal try with a sandwich, milk, baby carrots, apple, and broccoli

Following this two-year, nation-wide pilot program in universal feeding, both federal and state attempts have been made to extend some or all of the waivers to continue supporting families and school meal programs struggling with staff and supply chain shortages while operational costs have increased significantly. 

On June 24, 2022, congress passed the Keep Kids Fed Act, which allowed for the continuation of some USDA waivers through the summer of 2022. Going into the 2022-23 school year, the bill will also help maintain flexibility for operators in several areas as well as providing an increase in meal reimbursements to help districts offset the rising food and labor costs. 

Many states have introduced or passed additional legislation attempting to increase access and funding of school meal programs in the absence of universal funding from the federal program. In Washington, we will see two important changes in the 2022-23 school year. First, schools where at least 40% of students directly certify for free/reduced eligibility will be required to offer the Community Eligibility Program, which ultimately provides meals free of charge to all students in those schools. 

While none of the schools in Northshore meet this criteria, the second update will affect some Northshore families. Beginning in 2022-23 school year, the state will be supplementing all student meals under the reduced-price category; a provision of the Keep Kids Fed Act that congress failed to include in the final version of the bill. Washington state will pick up the difference between the free and reduced rate charged to families. Therefore, students in Northshore who qualify for reduced-price meals will also get breakfast and lunch meals free of charge. 

 

Did you know?  In 2021–22, FNS served 634,329 breakfasts and 1,794,533 lunches!

Paying for Meals 

Northshore School District currently utilizes Titan School Solutions for POS transactions and school meal account management. If your student plans to purchase meals or a la carte items next year, be prepared by opening a Titan Family Portal account now.

 Titan School Solutions Family Portal button

Titan is web-based and real time, making it easier for families to see the most recent transactions as well as make deposits immediately available to students. Easily manage multiple students accounts, set low-balance notifications, make auto deposits and even apply for free & reduced-price meals. Person looking at a digital tablet

If your family utilized our previous payment system, PayPams, in the 2019–20 school year, all student account balances transferred to Titan automatically through the transition in 2020. If you have not accessed your account since then, simply register yourself in the Titan Family find your student(s) and manage your funds. 

2022–23 Meal Prices 

 

Free

Reduced

Paid

Elementary Breakfast

$0.00

$0.00

$2.25

Elementary Lunch

$0.00

$0.00

$3.75

Secondary Breakfast

$0.00

$0.00

$2.50

Secondary Lunch

$0.00

$0.00

$4.00

 

The National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs are regulated by the United States Deptartment of Agriculture (USDA). Participating school districts receive funding for each reimbursable meal served during the school year. 

What is a Reimbursable Meal? 

Reimbursable Meal: a meal that meets USDA regulation for a complete, nutritious meal, and therefore qualifies for reimbursement through federal grant funds. The USDA sets guidelines for what must be offered as well as what must be taken to qualify for reimbursement (i.e. funding). 

Students will always be offered a reimbursable meal, regardless of meal account balances. All account balances will require reconciliation, but students will never be denied a reimbursable meal. USDA logo with blue lettering over a green field

Federal nutrition regulations require every student to be offered a minimum amount of five (5) meal components each day: 

  • Main Entrée containing Protein (1) & Whole Grains (2) 

  • Milk (3) 

  • Fruit or 100% Fruit Juice (4) 

  • Vegetable (5) 

Students must choose 3 of the 5 components (protein, whole grains, milk, fruit or veg) to be considered a reimbursable meal. One of the three selected components must be ½ cup fruit or vegetable. 

If a student declines to take three full components or one of the components is not a fruit or vegetable, the meal does not qualify for federal reimbursement under any qualification category—free, reduced or paid, and is therefore charged a la carte by item. 

For more information about USDA requirements and to learn more about building a healthy school lunch, visit fns.usda.gov

Choose at least 3 components for a healthy meal! 

Graphic with protein, grains, dairy, fruit, and vegetables

 

Meals in Secondary

As students navigate the change from single classroom elementary settings to the multi-class, block schedules of secondary, they will also notice differences in the lunchroom. Secondary students have between 8-12 daily entrée choices in addition to a variety of fruits, vegetables and milk.

 Photo of three students eating together

Middle and high school students can also purchase a la carte food and beverage items. A la carte is defined as any purchase outside of a reimbursable meal. Entrée-only, extra entrée or milk-only purchases are considered a la carte. All snack and beverage options available meet the USDA guidelines for Smart Snacks. This includes limiting beverage choices at the middle school to milk, water or 100% juice. Additional low or no calorie beverages can be offered at the high school level. 

Smart Snacks guidelines for food items include limits to calories, sugar and fat as well as requiring grain products to be whole grain rich. Snack options in secondary schools may be items such as whole grain cookies, crackers or chips, fruit snacks, beef jerky, yogurt, string cheese and low-fat ice cream novelties.

Students who have a positive meal account balance may purchase a la carte items and will not be limited by the kitchen staff unless otherwise directed by a parent or guardian. 

For more information on USDA Smart Snacks guidelines, visit www.fns.usda.gov/ cn/smart-snacks-school 

 

Applications for Free & Reduced-Priced Meals 

Now more than ever, it is important that if you believe your family qualifies for free or reduced-priced meals, please fill out an application as soon as possible. Families must re-qualify for benefits each year. 

This means that if you qualified by filling out an application in 2019, you must renew your application by the end of September 2022. Families may be responsible for charges incurred starting in October, if they have not re-qualified for benefits. 

In addition to meals, those who qualify can also receive discounted or free school services including athletic fees, field trip fees, ASB fees, college application fees, and more! 

Applications will be available beginning in August to apply for 2022-23 school year benefits. The online application is the fastest and easiest way to get approved and is available in 9 languages. 

Go to www.nsd.org/mealapplication 

Paper applications in additional languages can be found and printed from: www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/translated-applications 

Please note: Paper applications will be mailed home by request only. To have an application mailed to you, call the Food & Nutrition Services office at 425-408-7657 or email eblack@nsd.org

Complete only one application per household. 

 

Food & Nutrition Services is Hiring! 

Food & Nutrition Services is now hiring in multiple school kitchens! We have positions across the District with various hours, benefits, uniform stipends, and opportunities for advancement. If you’ve been looking for a way to get involved at the school or in the community, feeding our students is the rewarding job you’ve been looking for. Working in Food & Nutrition Services allows you to work while the kids are in school and be home for the after-school and evening activities. Work-Life balance at its finest! 

Permanent staff starts at $18.64 and substitutes start at $18.25 per hour. Positions range from 3.0–8.0 hours per day. Need even more flexibility? We’re hiring substitutes as well! Set your own availability and even decline offered shifts if something comes up — the ultimate flexibility for family life. You can find current openings via the employment page on the NSD website at go.nsd. org/employment or call 425-408- 7654 for more information.

 Food and Nutrition Services employees posed together

Apply to work with us today!