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Frequently Asked Questions About School Meals

Who administers and regulates the school nutrition services in Fort Worth ISD?
The Fort Worth ISD Child Nutrition Services Department (CNS) is administered by Glenn Headlee, Director of Child Nutrition Services. Fort Worth ISD participates in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, both which are administrated 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 my 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 parent 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 for 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 Always remember that when paying by check, please include your full name, street address (No P.O. Box), home phone number/secondary phone number with area code, drivers license number with the state as well as the student's name and account number in the memo section of your check. 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. is a secure, online site for payments made on student's accounts with Visa or MasterCard and payments can be made anytime of the day. This fast and friendly service also allows you to view your student's meal transactions without cost or having to make a deposit. 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?
All students are permitted to charge up to $7.50. 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 notify the cafeteria manager and school nurse. A doctor's note must be sent to the cafeteria stating the allergy. If replacing one food with another, this too must be included in the doctor's letter. 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 milk allergy has changed per USDA regulations.  We now offer Lactaid in replacement for regular cow's milk if the parent requests this substitution in writingWritten requests need to be submitted to the cafeteria manager asking for Lactaid instead of regular cow's milk.  At this time, Lactaid is the only allowable substituion we carry.

My child seems to run out of money in their lunch account sooner than I expect, why are they charged more for a la carte items than if they get 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 can't I bring homemade items into my child’s classroom?
Food brought in for birthdays or after school functions must be purchased from a food safety approved vendor.  These are vendors operating under the guidance and monitoring of a public health department. Homemade items cannot be brought into the classroom due to food safety and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) requirements.


Why are there so many changes regarding parties and snacks at my child's school?
Please refer to the new Texas Department of Agriculture policies and information at: Web site:


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


How do I get an account refund?
If you want a refund on your child's account, please complete the refund request form and fax or send to school with your child. Refunds less than $50 will be made in the cafeteria. Refunds $50 or greater will be mailed by check. Refund or Transfer Request Form


If I take fewer items, will I be able to pay less for my meal? 
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 is the adult charge higher than the student charge? 
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 thing. 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 and has flavor that some people do not like. 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 must milk be served with school 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.  A variety of milk choices are offered at each cafeteria. 


What beverage substitution is made for students who are lactose intolerant or have milk sensitivity?
If a student is lactose intolerant, a written note from the parent or guardian is required and lactaid milk will be substituted for regular cow's milk.  If a student has a milk allergy, a physician's written order of the milk allergy must be provided and soy milk will be substituted for regular cow's milk.  Water and juice may NOT be substituted for cow's milk. 

How are returned checks issued to cafeterias handled?
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 (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 my view student purchases for seven days after purchase (meal history) on Log on to set up an account to access the information.  You will need student name, 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.


 Have a question?

Want to know more about nutrition at the Fort Worth ISD? Ask the Dietitian!

 Nutrition Quick Links

  Breakfast & Lunch Menus - Sign Up or Manage Account
  Apply Online for Free or Reduced Meals
  Frequently Asked Questions
  Contact Us
  FWISD Kick Start Breakfast~Elementary Schools

 Nutrition Resources

  School Nutrition Association
  Texas Association for School Nutrition
  Kid Health
  Snack Wise - Nutrition Rating System
  Nutrient Rich Foods Coalition
  Square Meals
  Nutrition Explorations
  Eat Right - American Dietetic Association
  Dairy Max - Your local dairy council
  United States Department of Agriculture
  Centers for Disease Control
  Grain Power
  America Heart Association
  Ask the Dietitian
  Body by Milk
  America's Dairy Farmers

Fort Worth Independent School District | 100 N University Dr. | Fort Worth TX 76107 | Phone:817-871-2000 | Email:

The Fort Worth Independent School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, age, gender identity and expression, military/veteran status, in its programs and activities. The following person(s) has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: June Davis, 504 Coordinator/Foster Care Liaison, 100 N University Dr., NW 250, Fort Worth, TX 76107, 817-814-2875, Rufino Mendoza, Title IX Coordinator, 100 N University Dr., NW 130-I, Fort Worth, TX 76107, 817-814-2793 or Sammy Monge, Title VII Coordinator, 100 N University Dr., NW 130-I, Fort Worth, TX 76107, 817-814-2724.