General Questions about BISD School Nutrition Services
Question: Who administers and regulates the school nutrition services in Bryan ISD?
Answer: The Bryan ISD School Nutrition Services (SNS) is administrated by Sundy Fryrear, Director of School Nutrition Services. Bryan ISD participates in the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program, both which are administrated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In addition, School Nutrition Services follows the regulations of the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), local health departments and the Board of Trustees.
Question: How much taxpayer money is used to operate the School Nutrition Services?
Answer: The Bryan ISD School Nutrition Services is a self sustaining operation. No funds from the Bryan ISD General Fund are used in the operation of the School Nutrition Services (SNS). SNS receives money from the federal government under the National School Lunch Program.
Question: What is the system used to collect money in the School Nutrition Services department?
Answer: Bryan ISD School Nutrition Services utilizes a computerized cash register system. This system allows us to provide better service to both students and parents as well as account for all meals served. Each student is assigned a personal identification number (PIN) on the first day of school or when enrolled in the school. Students will keep the same PIN number as long as they are enrolled in Bryan ISD. This will be their PIN from kindergarten till they graduate. During mealtime, students will key in their PIN on a keypad or scan their ID tag which contains a barcode with their PIN. The current money balance in the student's meal account will be shown on the register screen. If an account has enough money, the transactions will be processed and the amount of the meal will be deducted from the student's account balance. If there is not enough money on the account, the student will be asked for money.
Question: How can I make deposits to my child's account?
Answer: Prepaying for breakfast, lunch and ala carte items is an efficient way to pay for your student's meals. You may pay by check or cash. However, if paying by check, please include your student's name and account number in the memo section of your check. If paying by cash, please include a slip of paper with the same information.
You may also pay on your student's account by making a payment to PayPams. This 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. Simply sign up!
Deposits on an account can be made at anytime the cafeteria is open for business. However, to better serve you and to insure that money is on your student's account prior to meal service, please make payments in the morning.
Question: What is the district's policy on charging?
Answer: Bryan ISD SNS allows elementary paid students to charge up to -$8.00 (2 breakfast & 2 lunches) and elementary reduced students to charge up to -$1.40 (2 breakfast & 2 lunches) on their accounts. Secondary students are allowed to charge up to $8.50 (3 lunches) and secondary reduced students to charge up to -$1.40 (3 lunches). Teachers may charge up to $10. Cashiers will remind a student if money on their account is running low.
Question: Why did my child receive a sandwich, fruit and milk for lunch?
Answer: Your student may have been served a sandwich, fruit and milk for lunch instead of the regular menu lunch due to lack of funds on their account. It is the policy of Bryan ISD SNS to replace the regular meal with a sandwich and milk at no cost to the student if the student has charged to their limit on their account. Elementary paid students may charge up to -$8.00 and elementary reduced students may charge up to -$1.40 on their accounts. Secondary students are allowed to charge up to -$8.50 and secondary reduced students are allowed to charge up to -$1.40.
Question: What happens if someone uses my child's account?
Answer: Student meal account numbers are the student's school ID number. This number should be kept confidential and should not be shared with other students. If the number is used by someone other than the legitimate holder, the register will notify the cashier that the number has already been used for the purchase of a meal for that day. This does not include ala carte items. If this should happen, the cafeteria manager will take the necessary steps to rectify the situation. A parent may always ask for a report on their child's account. To make this request, please contact the cafeteria manager. Student accounts may also be viewed by the parent on PayPams.
Question: What happens to my child's money at the end of the school year?
Answer: 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 school the following year. Account balances, whether there is a credit or debt, follow the student from year to year. Parents of graduating students may request a refund by emailing the SNS Finance Assistant Kimberly Qualls at firstname.lastname@example.org or the remaining balance may be transferred to the account of a younger sibling.
Question: How do I get a refund?
Answer: If you want a refund on your child's account, you must send a letter with your signature to the cafeteria manager or you can make this request in person at the school's cafeteria.
Question: What if my child is allergic to milk, peanuts, etc.?
Answer: If your child has a food allergy, please notify the school nurse. She has a form that MUST be completed by a physician before any meal substitutions can be made. A copy of this form is also available on our website in the Allergy Information section. Once completed this form should be given to the school nurse, and may also be faxed to SNS. The fax number is (979) 209-7060.
Government and School Nutrition Services
Question: How does the Commodity Donated Food Program work?
Answer: Through the Commodity Food Program, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service provides food to meet the nutritional needs of children and needy adults. The program has a two-fold purpose:
- To aid American farmers by stabilizing farm prices through the purchase of excess agricultural commodities and;
- Improving the nutritional well-being of needy adults and the nation's school children.
Under the current commodity donation system, USDA purchases commodities and arranges for their transportation to designated locations within each state. State distributing agencies are then responsible for storing food, transporting it within the state, and ensuring its distribution to eligible recipients.
In Texas, the Texas Department of Agriculture is responsible for the Commodity Food Program. School district food service departments are allocated commodities based on the average daily participation in the National School Lunch Program.
Each food service department must also budget for transportation to the school district, handling and storage costs on a per case basis. So, while commodities are not free, they are still below cost than if purchased on the open market.
Question: What does "offer vs. serve" mean?
Answer: Offer versus serve was established in October 1975 when Public Law 94-105 mandated that students in high school would not be required to accept offered foods they did not intend to consume. At the middle school and elementary levels, the policy is optional and it is up to each individual district to decide whether they wish to extend offer vs. serve to the middle or elementary level. Bryan ISD School Nutrition Services has chosen to extend offer vs. serve to include the elementary and middle schools.
The five components of the meal include:
- meat or meat alternate
- bread and grains
As long as the student takes three of the five items, the meal will be counted as a complete meal and eligible for reimbursement.
Question: If I take fewer than five items, will I be able to pay less for my meal?
Answer: 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 three items do not qualify for reimbursement. Therefore, the cost of the food and preparation of the food must be covered by someone other than the government. To cover these costs, SNS charges these items back to the student and may result in a higher price than if the student chose to take 3 of the 5 offered items.
Question: Why isn't there a statewide (or nationwide) charge set for all paying students?
Answer: Because food, labor and other costs vary so greatly throughout the state of Texas, an established charge for all students would not be feasible. In this district, the food service department maintains a self-supporting operation.
Question: Why is the adult charge higher than the student charge?
Answer: 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.
Question: Is the breakfast program for free students only?
Answer: No. Breakfast is available and offered to all students and faculty on each campus in Bryan. 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. The breakfast meal pattern must include milk, fruit or fruit juice or vegetable juice, two servings of bread/grains or 2 oz meat or meat alternate or a combination of bread/grains and meat/meat alternate. 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.
Question: Are whole grain breads more nutritious than white bread?
Answer: 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 be enriched white bread or whole grain bread, bread is an essential and inexpensive source of the nutrients needed by our bodies.
Question: Is honey better for you than sugar?
Answer: Honey is a carbohydrate composed almost entirely of simple sugars - glucose and fructose. In composition, honey differs only slightly from sugar. Therefore, honey is not lower in calories than sugar, nor is it 'more healthy' than sugar.
Question: Why must milk be served with school lunch?
Answer: 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 is offered at each cafeteria - lowfat (1% fat) plain, strawberry and chocolate, and skim plain.
Question: What is the School Nutrition Services doing to decrease fat and sugar in school menus.?
Answer: The School Nutrition Services understands parents' concerns and is continually striving to reduce fat, sodium and sugar in the foods served. Bryan ISD elementary campuses have joined the CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) program, which is dedicated to the physical health of our students. The goals of CATCH include reducing the risk factors leading to cardiovascular disease and Type II diabetes. The best way to prevent these diseases is to reach children before unhealthy habits have been formed. Healthy behaviors include moderate to vigorous exercise, eating habits with a lowfat and low sodium awareness and non-smoking. CATCH is a coordinated effort between classroom, cafeteria, physical education and parent involvement. BISD SNS is doing the following to promote CATCH:
- Decrease in fat content by:
- Vegetables are prepared with no butter.
- Chicken nuggets, fish sticks, chicken patties, fish patties and corn dogs are oven baked instead of deep fat fried.
- Hot rolls are not brushed with butter.
- Ground beef is drained and rinsed to reduce fat content.
- Lowfat (1%) and skim milk are offered daily and in a variety of flavors.
- Menu features many lowfat entrees such as lowfat pizza, lowfat hamburgers, lowfat hot dogs and lowfat corn dogs.
- Reduced fat cheese is used in all recipes.
- Making Healthier Menu Choices:
- Menu's calories are appropriate for student's age.
- Menu is less than 30% of calories from fat and less than 10% calories from saturated fat.
- Increased number of whole grain items and fresh vegetable choices on menu.
- A variety of 3 fruit choices are enjoyed as the sweet ending to the meal instead of a high calorie, high fat dessert.
Question: Why are bread and potatoes served in the same meal ?
Answer: A bread or grain is a required component of the school lunch pattern. Potatoes are considered a vegetable by the USDA Food Guide Pyramid standards and meet only the fruit/vegetable requirement of the meal pattern