Frequently Asked Questions

  •  Who administers and regulates the school nutrition services in the Fort Worth School District? 
    The Fort Worth ISD Child Nutrition Services Department (CNS) and Sodexo Magic administer the school nutrition services in Fort Worth ISD. Fort Worth ISD participates in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, both of which are regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). At the state level, The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) is the monitor and regulatory authority for school meals. Local health departments provide oversight for the food safety of the meals served.

     How much of the local taxpayer money is used to operate Child Nutrition Services? 
    The Fort Worth ISD Child Nutrition Services is a self-sustaining operation within the District. The department receives funding from the federal government under the National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs.

     Why does my child have a lunch account, and how can I make deposits into my child's account?
    The student lunch account provides a method for streamlining meal service for students. It allows parents to prepay for meals with credit cards; thus decreasing the need for children to remember lunch money during the school week. The lunch account allows the Child Nutrition Department to monitor and provide information about student purchases as requested.

    Money can be placed in lunch accounts by check, cash, or credit card via www.MySchoolBucks.com. If paying by cash, please include an envelope with the same information for children in grades PK-1st to make sure that money is credited to the correct lunch account. 

    www.MySchoolBucks.com is a secure, online site for payments made on student's accounts with Visa or MasterCard and payments can be made any time of the day. This fast and friendly service also allows you to view your student's meal transactions, set up recurring payments, set low balance alerts, and so much more! There is a convenience fee of $1.95 for each transaction regardless of the number of students receiving payment. Simply sign up!!!

     What is the District's policy on charging meals?
    High School students are permitted to charge up to $7.50. Elementary and Middle School students do not have a charging limit; however, balances carry over each year. Charges are only permitted on full meals and not on ala carte or snack items.

     What happens to my child's money at the end of the school year?
    If your child has money left on his/her account at the end of the year, the money will be available on the first day of the school the following year. Account balances, whether there is a credit or debt, will follow the student from year to year.

     What if my child is allergic to milk, peanuts, etc.?
    If your child has a food allergy, please fill out the Food Allergy/Disability Food Substitution Form and return the signed form to the school nurse.  The form must be signed by both the physician and parent or guardian before a special diet can be made.  Please provide as much detail on the form as possible.  For example, my child is allergic to egg but can consume egg in baked goods; my child is lactose intolerant but can eat cheese; etc.  Regular allergies (i.e. an allergy to "X" item) need to include that "X" item is to be replaced with "Y" item.  The way we handle a milk allergy has changed per USDA regulations.  We now offer Lactaid in replacement for regular cow's milk if the doctor requests this substitution in writing.  Soy milk is also available for students with milk allergies.  If your child’s health needs change, a new Food Allergy/Disability Substitution Form signed by a licensed physician is required before any alterations can be made to your child’s diet.

     My child seems to run out of money in their lunch account sooner than I expect. Why is the account charged more for a la carte items, than the standard hot meal? 
    We receive federal funding for the school lunch program, and to ensure that children select healthy meals, the Federal Government requires that students select foods according to our menu plan. If a child does not select a reimbursable meal the school district does not receive funding for any portion of the meal. In this case, students are charged a la carte prices for items selected. Consequently, they could actually pay more for less food.

     Why are there changes regarding parties and snacks at my child's school?
    Please refer to the Texas Department of Agriculture policies and information at Web site: http://www.squaremeals.com.

     How can I find out what my student is eating at school?
    You may see your child’s transactions by creating a MySchoolBucks account and reviewing the purchasing history. You may also contact your campus cafeteria manager for a printout to be sent by email.

     How can I get an account refund? 
    If you want a refund on your child's account, please contact your child's school. Refunds less than $50 will be made in the cafeteria. Refunds $50 or greater will be mailed by check.

     If fewer meal items are selected, is the cost of the meal reduced?
    No. The purpose of the offer vs. serve program is to reduce plate waste and allow students a choice in what they wish to have for lunch. The student may take everything if he/she desires. As a result, there is no reduction in price. Meals that contain less than the required items do not qualify for reimbursement. To cover these costs, CN charges these items back to the student and may result in a higher price than if the student chooses an incomplete meal.

    Why does the adult meal cost higher than the student meal cost?
    The intent of the National School Lunch Program is to provide nutritious and low-cost meals to children. Since this program is for children, there is no federal assistance or reimbursement for meals served to adults. The value of this reimbursement or assistance must not be used to subsidize adult meals. Therefore, the adult meal charge has to be at least a combination of the basic reimbursement rate plus the guaranteed value of USDA commodities (per plate) and higher than the highest charge to the child in the school district. An adult should receive the same size meal as that of a secondary student for the established charge.

     Is the breakfast program for free students only?
    No. Breakfast is available and offered to all students and faculty on each campus. The Texas Legislature mandated the Breakfast Program in 1978 for all schools where 10% of enrolled students are eligible for free or reduced meals on campus. Breakfast is a wholesome, nutritious meal and studies show that students who have breakfast are more alert, do well in morning classes and have fewer discipline problems.

     Are whole grain breads more nutritious than white bread?
    White bread and whole grain breads are not the same things. When white flour is milled, the outer bran layer and the germ are separated. The germ is taken off because it contains fat.  When the fat in the germ turns rancid, the flour is ruined. The bran is removed because it is coarse in texture, brown in color. However, bran is where the fiber is located and is lost during the milling process. White bread does not contain the bran, therefore, does not have as high of fiber content as does whole grain breads. Vitamins and minerals are found in the bran layer and wheat germ of whole grain items but are not found in refined, white flour. Although nutrients are lost when white flour is milled, white flour is then enriched with B vitamins, iron, calcium, and vitamin D. But whether it is enriched white bread or whole grain bread, bread is an essential source of the nutrients needed by our bodies.

     Why are milk servings required with lunch?
    Eight ounces or 1 cup of fluid milk is a required component of the school lunch pattern. No other beverage (juice, ice tea, or soda), nor food (ice cream, cottage cheese, or yogurt), can be substituted for this required component unless a student has a documented milk allergy on file at Child Nutrition Services.  A variety of milk choices are offered at each cafeteria. Children are NOT required to take milk on their tray, it is only offered. Students must take 3 components to have a reimbursable tray and not be charged an a la carte price. Milk is only 1 of the 5 components made available each day.

     What constitutes as a reimbursable meal?
    A reimbursable meal is when a student chooses 3 components offered at breakfast or lunch. The five components offered daily are milk, fruit, vegetables, grains, and meat/meat alternates. In order for a tray to be reimbursable, 1 of the 3 components chosen MUST BE a fruit or vegetable. A student may take all components offered. Elementary and Middle School students are limited to 1 serving of fruit at lunch, High School students may take 2 servings of fruit at lunch.

    Example at an Elementary School: hamburger (grain and meat equal 2 components) + waffle fries (vegetable) = Reimbursable Meal (3 components chosen)
    Example at High School: cheese pizza (grain and meat alternate equal 2 components) + broccoli + milk = Reimbursable Meal (4 components chosen)

     

    What beverage substitution is made for students who are lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy?
    If a student is lactose intolerant or has a milk allergy, the Food Allergy/Disability Food Substitution Form must be filled out and signed by the physician and parent or guardian before a substitution can be made. Lactaid milk will be substituted for regular cow's milk for students who are lactose intolerant.  Soy milk will be substituted for regular cow's milk for students who have a milk allergy.  Water and juice may NOT be substituted for cow's milk, because it does not contain a similar nutrient composition; however, if a student is allergic to both milk and soy, water will be provided.

    How are returned checks issued to cafeterias processed?
    PAYTEK Solutions will provide collection service on returned checks written to Child Nutrition Services.  PAYTEK is a contract vendor for the program and all questions concerning collection should be directed to the FWISD Child Nutrition Services Accountant. Parent may call 817-814-2153 for any check processing or recovery questions. For general inquiries please contact sylvia.mendoza@fwisd.org(include returned checks in the subject box) A sticker (English and Spanish) advising customers of this policy is at each cash register.

     How can I view my child(ren)’s lunch account balance and meal purchases online without using the credit card option?
    Parents may view student purchases (meal history) on MySchoolBucks.com. Log on to set up an account to access the information.  You will need the student name and student ID (not social security number).  There is no fee for viewing balances and meals purchased. A fee is only assessed with credit card payments.

    ~end of FAQ's~