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Georgetown Public Schools is announcing its policy for determining eligibility of children who may receive free or reduced price meals served under the National School Lunch Program.

PUBLIC RELEASE

Georgetown Public Schools is announcing its policy for determining eligibility of children who may receive free or reduced price meals served under the National School Lunch Program.

Lunch costs $3.00 at Penn Brook Elementary and $3.25 at GMHS.

Your children may qualify for free meals or for reduced price meals. Reduced price is $0.40 for lunch and $0.30 for breakfast.

Below are some common questions and answers to help you with the application process.

  1. Who can get free OR REDUCED PRICE meals?
    1. All children in households receiving benefits from MA SNAP or MA TANF are eligible for free meals.
    2. Foster children that are under the legal responsibility of a foster care agency or court are eligible for free meals.
    3. Children participating in their school’s Head Start program are eligible for free meals.
    4. Children who meet the definition of homeless, runaway, or migrant are eligible for free meals.

Children may receive free or reduced price meals if your household’s income is within the limits on the Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines. Your children may qualify for free or reduced price meals , click here for more info.

 

Meal Charge Policy

MEAL CHARGE POLICY

The School Committee is committed to providing students with healthy, nutritious meals each day so they can focus on schoolwork, while also maintaining the financial integrity of meal programs and minimizing any impact on students with meal charges. However, unpaid meal charges place a large financial burden on the school district, as food services are a self-supporting entity within the district. The
purpose of this policy is to ensure compliance with federal reporting requirements of the USDA Child Nutrition Program, as well as provide oversight and accountability for the collection of outstanding student meal balances.

The provisions of this policy pertain to regular priced school meals only. The School Committee will provide a regular meal to students who forget, lose their lunch money, or have a negative balance. However it will be charged to the students’ account.

Meal Charges and Balances

Students will pay for meals at the regular rate approved by the School Committee and for their meal status (regular, reduced-price, or free) each day at time of service. Payment options will be delineated in student handbooks and provided to parents of incoming students. After the balance reaches zero and/or enters the negative, students will not be allowed to purchase a la carte items including but not limited to a second meal, snack, ice cream, or an additional beverage. The student will still be allowed to take a meal, and that meal will continue to be charged to the account at the standard lunch rate based on their meal status. The parent/guardian is responsible for any meal charges incurred. If there is a financial hardship, a parent/guardian should contact food services directly to discuss payment options such as an individualized repayment plan.

Payments

Parents/Guardians are responsible for all meal payments to the food service program. Notices of low or deficit balances will be sent directly to parent/guardians via weekly emails or regular postal mail at regular intervals during the school year. At no time shall any staff member give payment notices to students unless that student is known to be an emancipated minor who is fully responsible for themselves or over the age of 18. Parents/guardians are responsible to discuss personal meal purchase parameters at home. If parents/guardians have questions with student purchases they should contact food service department at 978-352-5777 ext.106 or brousseaut@georgetown.k12.ma.us

Parents/Guardians may pay for meals in advance. It is FREE to monitor your student’s purchases online. To get started, go to MySchoolBucks.com to create a parent account. Then search for your students and add them to your account. You can view the past 90 days of their purchases and payments from home or on the go using the free mobile app. If you need help setting up your account, call the Food Service Department for support. My School Bucks charges a nominal fee to upload funds via debit/credit card. Parents/guardians can also pay by personal check at no cost, by presenting it to the school food service staff. Funds should be maintained in accounts to minimize the possibility that a child may be without meal money on any given day. Parents/guardians are encouraged to set up a low balance alert on My School Bucks. Any remaining funds for a particular student, whether positive or negative, will be carried over to the next school year.

All school cafeterias possess computerized point of sale/cash register systems that maintain records of all monies received and spent for each student and those records are available to parents by setting up an online account through myschoolbucks.com or by speaking with the food service department. The point of sale system is designed to prevent direct identification of a student’s meal status. Parents will receive low-balance alerts either through My School Bucks(parents can set amount) or through the food service department when there is a negative balance. If notices do not result in payment, parents will receive a phone call from the Food Service Director’s Office. If the phone call does not result in payment, the Food Service Director shall turn the account over to the Business Office for collection. Persistently delinquent accounts will be referred to the Superintendent and/or a collection agency.

Refunds

Refunds for withdrawn and/or graduating students require a written request (email, postal, or in person) for a refund of any money remaining in their account to be submitted. Parents of graduating students also have the option to transfer funds to a sibling’s account or to donate to a student in need with a written request.

Delinquent Accounts/Collections

Failure of a parent or guardian to maintain current accounts may result in the referral to the Superintendent for his/her review and action. The Superintendent shall ensure that there are appropriate and effective collection procedures and internal controls within the school district’s business office that meet the requirements of law. Persistently delinquent accounts will be referred to a collection agency.

If a student is without meal money on a consistent basis, the administration may investigate the situation more closely and take further action as needed. If financial hardship exists, parents and families are encouraged to apply for free or reduced price lunches for their child and or contact the Business Office for assistance. Each school handbook shall contain detailed instructions for parental assistance.

Balances Owed with No Response by Parents/Guardian
If the payment is not received, the Superintendent or his/her designee may take one of more of the following actions, unless or until prohibited by state law or regulation:

1) Prohibit participation of student or other students in the student’s household from participating in any future fee based program until or unless outstanding balances are resolved.
2) Denial of participation in extra-curricular activities.
3) Prohibit student participation in senior week activities or graduation exercises.
4) Referral to small claims court and/or District Attorney’s Office.
5) Any of the above actions may be appealed to the Superintendent of Schools.

Checks Returned for Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF)
When a check is returned to the Treasurer’s Office for “NSF”, a letter will be sent to inform the parent(s) from the Food Service Director. Payment for the NSF check must be in the form of a cashier’s check or money order. Payment must be received within ten (10) days of the date of the letter. Any penalty fee will be made payable to the Town of Georgetown and sent to the Food Service Office. Second requests will follow M.G.L. Chapter 93, s40A. Once the Town has received a NSF check from the bank, the parent will no longer be allowed to pay by personal check, only a cashier’s or money order will be accepted.
Adult Purchases
With exception of staff contractually entitled to daily meals, Staff and Faculty are expected to pay for all meals received from the school food service department. Staff and faculty may also purchase any of our individually priced items using funds on their accounts or cash at the point of sale. Staff will not be allowed to charge any food items that will cause their account to go into deficit balance.

Policy Communications

This policy shall be communicated to all staff and families at the beginning of each school year and to families transferring to the district during the year. Information can be found on the food service department tab on the district website and/or parent student handbooks on each school’s website.

Free and Reduced Lunch

For those looking to apply, please click here.

 

File: EFCA

Adopted on: January 22, 2015
Revised on: August 25, 2016
Second Revision: January 10, 2019

GMHS Vape Detection Program in the News

I am pleased to share with you a recent report that aired on WGBH regarding the increase in vaping among youth and what is being done about it at the policy level and at the school level.  As you may know, thanks to funding from the Georgetown Cares Coalition, vape detectors were purchased and installed in many bathrooms at GMHS last fall to serve as a detergent to  students vaping in the bathrooms. These are sensors that are triggered when vaping is detected and alerts are sent to members of the administration and the School Resource Officer. We are the first district in the state to be using them and, over the course of this year, we have received many inquiries from other districts who are considering purchasing them.  At a recent meeting of Georgetown Cares, it was voted that there will be 14 additional detectors installed for the fall. These will be located in the remaining bathrooms and  locker rooms at GMHS and in the bathrooms on the third floor at Penn Brook where the fifth and sixth grade students are located. This is being done NOT because we believe students of this age are vaping in school but the research is showing that students are beginning to vape in the upper  elementary grades  and the  middle school years. We just want to be sure this acts as a deterrent for our students.

The link below appeared in the news and includes our own Middle High School Principal Dan Richards.   Check it out!

https://www.wgbh.org/news/local-news/2019/04/25/as-teen-vaping-explodes-an-old-fight-against-big-tobacco-is-back-on

GMHS Student Qualifies for National Competion

Congratulations to GMHS freshman Maggie Jackson on qualifying for the National Young Inventors Competition in Detroit Michigan this summer.  Maggie earned this opportunity based on her placement in the regional competition for her Invention  “Your Pillow Pal”.  Their invention is a memory foam pillow with two parts, a back and bottom support. The invention is made for school chairs and it has multiple pockets for a calculator, pens, pencils and is transportable. The invention is meant to help student back pain therefore improving their learning. Maggie says ,”My Pillow Pal is a portable two part germ resistant pillow that would aid student’s learning.”

Congratulations to Maggie on earning this honor and I am so proud that she has brought this recognition to herself and her school. Way to go Maggie!

 

GMHS Sponsors Women in Leadership Day

GMHS Principal Dan Richards is focused on increasing opportunities for students and bringing real world and authentic learning into the school programs as a way to prepare students for their futures beyond high school.  Yesterday, with Dan’s vision and Athletic Director Ryan Browner’s tenacity, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association ( MIAA) and our school photography company Hockmeyer with Barkdale sponsored the first in this region Women in Leadership Day for almost 85 young women from area schools.  Since Georgetown was the host school, we had the opportunity to send 45 young woman to this conference and the area schools could send up to seven participants. ( Newburyport, Hamilton Wenham, Manchester Essex, North Reading, Rockport, MASCO, Ipswich).  The participants were recommended by school staff as young woman with leadership potential and ,unfortunately, we could not include more students in this first year even though I am sure there are others who could have benefited. Hopefully in the future this event can grow and touch more students because the information and experiences that were shared are something every young women could use.

The day was set up like a conference with a keynote address from Elizabeth Hockmeyer Williams on her journey and experience as a woman leader.  Her message embodied three themes; listen, be kind and have the freedom to live the life you want. She shared her story about how she is living with a chronic health condition and how she has drawn strength from within and from her network to become the leader she is today;one who leads by example and treats others the way she would like to be treated.  Following her comments, the main trainer for the day Deb Hult from Core Trainings led the students in leadership and team building activities for the remainder of the day.  While I was there is the morning, I was not able to share the remainder of the day with the participants but the evaluations were outstanding and I believe they felt they learned a lot from the experience which was our goal.  Research shows that there is a need to build our young women up and arm them with the skills, attitudes and belief to be the leaders of tomorrow. I am so delighted that our district is taking a proactive and forward thinking approach to leading the North Shore with a program like this and I hope this is the first on many years our young woman in the region and in our school can benefit.

Sincere thanks to the people who made this day happen. It is a tremendous amount of work planning and executing a day long event involving many districts and it went off without a hitch. To Elizabeth Hockmeyer Williams and Deb Hult, thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your positive energy, messages of hope, expertise and passion for this topic. You are true leaders who lead by example and embody the best in what leadership for women looks like in action.  You are inspiring and I hope all of the young women that were part of this great day will take something they learned and use it to make themselves the kind of leaders we need in the world today.  What an awesome opportunity!

Students Participate in Young Inventors Program at SNHU

I am pleased to announce that three members of Georgetown’s ninth grade class entered the regional Young Inventor’s Program competition on Sunday March 31st at Southern New Hampshire University. I was so impressed with the work of Jenna Tabenkin, Maggie Jackson and Lauren Bartlett who entered the competition with the help of Business and Technology teacher Mary Lyon who was also there to support her students. Each of these young ladies earned the right to attend this regional competition when they were rated as the top three performers at the Creativity Showcase that is the culminating activity for a course that is required for all Georgetown students in their freshman year.  There was a new feature added this year whereby students could ask to have their project judged by a panel of expert judges from the community. It was not required but out of the 30 students who put their name into the competition for judging, these three young inventors were selected to enter their project into the  competition at SNHU.  They had the chance to enter a specific category and there were a large panel of judges for each category on Sunday, again drawn from experts in their respective fields.  The winners of this competition will have the chance to go onto the national competition in Detroit Michigan this summer.

I was so proud of all of their projects and the way they prepared their pitch and prototype for their invention. As you can imagine, the higher up students go in the competition, the more competitive it is. In Sunday’s  round,  I am pleased to say that Jenna and Maggie received medals in their respective categories and we are waiting to hear if they will be invited to go to Detroit for the next round of competition. Whether they do or not, they are all winners already and I have so much optimism about the future when I see young people like Jenna, Maggie and Lauren challenging themselves to excel in the STEM fields and working so hard to make the world a better place! It was my pleasure to spend the day with them and their families! Well done ladies!