Sheila Oak, DTR, Director
Stacy Bergstedt, CFPM, SNA, Area Supervisor
Thomas Rusk, CFPM, Site Supervisor
Ken Witte, Foodservice Technician
Nutritious meals are served every day and meet patterns established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Free School Meals Program
Beginning in July 2023, the Child Nutrition Department will provide free school meals for all. Breakfast and lunch will be free for all students.
The Free School Meals Program is a state funded program that provides reimbursement for meals served to students who do not qualify for free or reduced-price meals so all students receive the meals at no cost.
Duluth Public School Child Nutrition program’s goal is to provide nutritious meals to students to promote healthy eating habits and enhance learning and eliminate the stigmatization of children who are unable to pay for meal charges. As part of this state program, Duluth Public Schools must continue its participation in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. This means we are still asking parents to fill out the Application for Educational Benefits, formally known as the free and reduced lunch form.
The Application for Educational Benefits is distributed to all families in the district prior to the student’s first day of classes. In addition, applications are available on the school district website or available to be mailed via USPS if requested.
Breakfast and lunch meals will be provided for free to all students, regardless of economic status. Students may be able to purchase a second lunch or a la carte items, if available, with their positive balance meal account. Students may bring a prepared lunch from home and milk will be available for purchase to supplement lunches brought from home.
A new application must be submitted each year. The income tables change yearly, so a new application must be processed each school year. At public schools, your application also helps the school qualify for education funds and discounts. You as a parent, may also qualify for other benefits for your students such as:
- Qualifying for free or reduced price lunch may also qualify your family to pay a lower fee or no fee for school activities and field trips.
- Students who qualify take the ACT Test at school for free.
- Families who qualify are helping Duluth schools receive additional education funds and discounts.
Return your completed Application for Educational Benefits: Child Nutrition Department, Denfeld High School, 401 North 44th Ave. W, Duluth MN 55807 or for faster processing, Complete an online application at https://paypams.com/OnlineApp.aspx.
Any parent wishing to get a refund from a meal account or transfer it to another student, should contact Child Nutrition at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, please contact the Child Nutrition Department at 218-336-8707.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How is the Free School Meals Program different than the National School Lunch Program?
- The Free School Meals Program is a state funded program that provides reimbursement for meals served to students who do not qualify for free or reduced-price meals so all students receive the meals at no cost. Schools participating in the Free School Meals Program must participate in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program and adhere to the regulations of those programs.
Is the Minnesota Free School Meal Program a temporary program?
- No. The funding for the Minnesota Free School Meals Program is permanent.
When does this program start?
- The Free School Meals Program begins on July 1, 2023.
Can an online school participate?
- No. Students must be enrolled in a school that is eligible for the National School Lunch Program.
Can students get second meals for free?
- This legislation provides a maximum of one free breakfast and one free lunch per day to students at participating schools.
How will the information I provide be kept?
- Information you provide on the form, and your child’s approval for school meal benefits, will be protected as private data. See the back page of the application for more information about how the information is used.
What if I disagree with the school’s decision about my application?
- You should talk to school officials. You also may ask for a hearing.
Why is it important to turn in the Application for Educational Benefits before Oct. 1?
- In order for your school to receive extra federal funding (which can keep classes small), our district must submit your application to the federal government by Oct. 1. Applications sent to the federal government after that time will not help schools receive extra funding. In short, your school loses money.
How often do I need to fill out the application?
- You must submit a new application each school year. You need just one application per family with names of all the adults and children who live in your household.
Can you help me if I have trouble filling out the application?
- Yes, if you need help with the form, please call the Child Nutrition Department at 336-8707 and they will be happy to assist you. Forms are available in the following languages: English, Hmong, Cambodian, Laotian, Russian, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese.
Paying For Extra Milk or A La Carte Items
To provide efficient service, Duluth Public Schools cafeterias operate on a pre-paid lunch system. Families put money in a school lunch account and students enter a computer code each day to pay for their milk or a la carte items. Dependent upon cafeteria staffing levels, Second meals may be available on a future date.
There are three ways to put money in your child's lunch account:
- PayPams Online: A secure, convenient online payment system. Check account balances and monitor what your student is choosing to eat at any time. A convenience fee of $1.95 per student is charged by the site for each payment submitted online. To use PayPams, create an account at paypams.com. The site will take a credit card for payment or receive payments from your bank account.
- Check - Write a check to Child Nutrition and mail to 401 N 44th Ave W, Duluth, MN 55807, or send with your student to school. Student name and student number are required on the check memo line.
- Cash - Send cash in a sealed envelope with your student's name printed on the envelope. Your child's teacher will send it to the school cafe for deposit. Your student may also pay cash on a daily basis at the register.
How do I know when my child's lunch account is running low?
PayPams Online: Check balances any time using PayPams. Families can also choose to receive an email from PayPams when the account reaches a certain balance (suggested amount is $10.00).
Infinite Campus Parent Portal: Parents can check Infinite Campus Parent Portal for their lunch balance.
School Meal Fees
One breakfast & one lunch is offered each day to every student at no cost at all school cafeterias .
ISD 709 District Policy regarding unpaid meal charges: DISTRICT POLICY 534 .PDF
½ Pint - $.50
Adult meal price - $4.95
- Student second meal price - $4.95