Update to School Meals – July 2022

Below is an update shared today from the Food Services department of Austin ISD. Please read and ensure your child’s school lunch account is updated if you wish to purchase school meals for your child for the upcoming school year. This update has also been added to Principal Frageman’s July Newsletter. Thank you!

District Update:

Beginning in June, Food Service resumed pre pandemic operations, affecting which schools and students are eligible for free meals. The Department of Agriculture pandemic-related waivers that allowed us to provide free meals for all students, as well as free summer and afterschool meals at any school, expired at the end of the 2021-22 school year. 

  • All students will no longer automatically receive free breakfast and lunch.

    • Students may be determined eligible for free or reduced-price meals through a variety of ways, outlined below.

  • Beginning on the first day of school, students will dine using their current meal status – free, reduced-price, or paid.  There is no 30-day grace period like in the past. 

    • We encourage families to complete a meal benefit application prior to the start of school to avoid accruing any negative balances.  

  • Students may add funds to their account by bringing cash to the cafeteria or caregivers may make online payments through their SchoolCafé account.  Online payments are subject to a processing fee.  https://www.schoolcafe.com/austinisd

  • If students exhaust their meal accounts, they may charge meals at any meal service as follows:

    • Students in elementary and middle school may charge up to three meals.

  • Once a student reaches their charge limit, if the account is not replenished, the student shall receive a courtesy meal, their choice of the available menu items for that day. 

    • We will notify caregivers of any negative meal account balances.  

  • All campuses will offer healthy à la carte Smart Snacks available for purchase.  Students may purchase using cash or funds on their SchoolCafé account.  Parents may set à la carte restrictions on a student’s account by contacting their café manager. 

Free Meal Eligibility: 

Students at your school may receive free meals by meeting one of the following criteria:

  • Directly certified through state-funded benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

  • Directly certified through foster care; migrant, homeless, or runaway programs; Head Start, or state-sponsored pre-K programs.

  • Determined eligible by completing a free or reduced-price meal benefits application. 


Paperwork for Your School – Meal Benefit Applications:

  • Your school will collect meal benefit applications from any student that is not directly certified, as outlined above, to determine if they are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.  

  • We encourage online meal benefit applications for quicker and more efficient processing.  Online applications will go live in July, accessible by creating an account at www.SchoolCafe.com/AustinISD.  

  • In August, Food Service will provide paper applications to your school.  Completed applications will return to the Cafe Manager, who will submit to Food Service Business Support for processing. 

  • All schools may collect Income Verification Forms to maintain campus demographic data, this information is submitted online or returned to the AISD Office of Accountability and Assessment.