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School Meal Charge Regulation



The purpose of this regulation is to establish consistent meal account procedures for Durango School District 9-R, and alleviate the financial burden that unpaid meal charges place on the school district. 


Durango School District 9-R recognizes that it is the parent or guardian’s responsibility to provide breakfast and lunch for their children. We also know that a well-nourished child is a more engaged learner and performs better in school. 


This regulation serves to create a fair system to ensure students have access to school meals and parents/guardians are aware of their responsibility to pay outstanding school meal debt.


Free and Reduced Meal Program


Free & Reduced Applications are available anytime during the school year.  A new, current school year application must be completed each school year unless the student is receiving SNAP benefits.  Applications are available prior to the beginning of the school year during school registration, check-in and meet your teacher events, as well as at the District Office, at each school cafeteria, the school office, and online for print, at Durango School District 9-R - Free and Reduced Meal Program Online free and reduced applications may be accessed through the Infinite Campus Parent Portal.


Please ensure that you receive confirmation that you are on the Free or Reduced meal program to avoid charging meals and incurring fees.


If you need assistance to complete a Free and Reduced application, please call the Food Services department 970-259-1630 ext 2041 or ext 2042.


Payment Due Upon Service


Paid families are expected to pay for meals at time of service or to pre-fund their student’s lunch account.


Meal Charge Regulation PK-12


  • Regardless of eligibility, students are discouraged from charging a la carte items when there is not money on the lunch account for these purchases.  Students will not be denied meals due to charges onto lunch accounts, but parents and guardians will be responsible to pay for all meal charges including a la carte items chosen by their student.
  • Food Service staff will verbally remind students what components make up a reimbursable meal.  It is not lunch shaming when a student is reminded what comes with their meal and what items will be charged to their account as a la carte.
  • Prepayment of meals is required when students do not qualify for the Free and Reduced program. Parents and guardians can establish a meal credit on their child’s lunch account through pre-payments.  Each meal eaten will be deducted from this pre-paid account. 
  • When the student’s lunch account gets to a $10.00 balance, the Infinite Campus portal system will send out an automated email or text to the parent/guardian informing them of the status of their child’s school meal balance.  When the student’s lunch account gets to a $5.00 balance, an automated phone call, email, and/or text will be sent to the parent/guardian informing them of the status of their child’s lunch account.  If the account goes below $0 additional messaging via email, text, or voice will be sent.  It is a parent’s or guardian’s responsibility to make sure they have the correct notification settings to receive the messages from the Infinite Campus system.
  • Should the meal balance go below $0.00, the child will charge all available reimbursable meals to their lunch account. Parents or guardians will be asked to pay for meals.
  • If the account is delinquent and remains below $0, the principal or their designee will contact the household and review with them their responsibility to provide meals for their student(s) and to stay current on their meal account.
  • Should negative balances not be paid in full by the end of the school year, the school district reserves the right to send any account above $25.00 to collections.  Accounts will only be sent to collections after a minimum of three attempts have been made to reach the household for payment.  Any family with an account that will go to collections may apply for hardship funding or a payment plan to rectify the situation.
  • Any unpaid balances above $25 that do not have payment plans (with balances scheduled to be paid down to zero by the beginning of the following school year) or approved hardship applications in place as of June 30th of each year will be turned over to collections.
Community Funding and Random Acts of Kindness

On occasion, the Food Services department receives community funding and donations from individual citizens wanting to support the community they live in.  These funds are accounted for using the finance protocol required via a separate fund.  These funds are prioritized to help offset unpaid balances for our highest need students, and as such, any donations will be applied in the order of highest need first.  The District will apply donated funds in the following manner:

  1. Families with overdue balances that are on Free or Reduced Meal Plans
  2. Families with overdue balances and approved hardship applications

When funds are available, families in need of assistance may declare hardship and request the use of donation funds to help pay down an account balance. 

A family may declare hardship and apply for funds by completing a Hardship Application, available on the Meal Account Payment Options  page and submitting to:

[email protected] or by mail Food Services, 2390 Main Avenue, Durango CO 81301. 

A family can declare hardship via phone to the building administrator or their designee when they receive a phone call about their delinquent balance, or they may call in and request.  The hardship application may be completed by school staff after verbal confirmation with the family.

A family may call Food Services 970-259-1630 ext 2042 and file via phone with the Director of Food Services.

Donations made by families with graduating seniors will be automatically applied toward outstanding lunch balances at the high school level at the end of a school year.

How to Pay for Student Lunches

  • Pay online through your Infinite Campus Parent Portal account using your credit or debit card. If you need assistance setting up your account please go to the Parent Portal Account set up instructions which may be found on the Durango School District website:   Infinite Campus Portal
  • Provide cash or check to school site, or you may mail checks, money orders, or certified checks to Food Services, Durango School District 9-R, 2390 Main Avenue, Durango, CO, 81301.  Please, note the student(s) name on the check.
  • Credit card payment by phone 970-259-1630 ext 2041.