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  • SCSD Motto
    Believe, Achieve, Succeed -- Every Day
  • SCSD Mission Statement
    The mission of the Simpson County School District is to foster an environment that enables students to believe, achieve and succeed every day.
  • SCSD District Vision
    Preparing students for success in the future.
Unpaid Meal Balance--Update
Simpson County School District has been constantly working with state and federal officials on a solution to the unpaid meal balance dilemma facing school districts. We know there are a lot of comments regarding our “no-charge” meal policy and would like to try to explain our reasoning for this policy.
There are three main reasons why we must enforce a “no-charge” rule:

Through the Federal Child Nutrition Program, the federal government subsidizes all free, reduced and paid meals, at different rates, to help offset the costs of preparing meals. If all federal laws and requirements are not met, all subsidies can be withheld from our district. We could not afford to run the Child Nutrition program without these funds.

Each year, we calculate to determine if our District can offer free meals to all students. This program is called the Community Eligibility Provision “CEP”. This calculation is based on the percentage of students in our district receiving benefits such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). This percentage is compared to our total number of students. Each year, the calculation has shown that we do not meet the threshold that would allow our District to participate in CEP and still receive enough funding to cover the cost of meals. This year’s calculation shows that our District would lose approximately $70,916.97 per month, or $638,252.73 annually, if we participated in the CEP program. This loss of revenue would not allow us to serve our student’s meals.

Federal law does not allow the Child Nutrition program at Simpson County Schools, or any other District, to carry any uncollectible debt. The federal law states that the school district’s local funds must reimburse the Child Nutrition program for all uncollectible debt. Mississippi law does not allow the school district’s district maintenance, or any other funds, to be used to cover this debt. Our school board attorney and auditor have been very involved in studying this. We requested an Attorney General’s opinion and that office stated that the District’s district maintenance fund cannot be used to reimburse unpaid meal balances. We sent this opinion to the State Auditor’s office, who agreed with the AG opinion.

Since our District does not qualify for the CEP program, our federal funds cannot carry uncollectible debt and our District’s funds cannot reimburse the federal funds, our Board had no choice but to implement a “no-charge” policy this year. We see this as the only way to abide by both federal and state laws.

With this in mind, no one within the school district wants to see a child go without food. That is why we adopted the alternate meal plan. This plan allows students without money to eat a meal without being charged. The alternate meal consists of a sandwich and milk. This is all that is allowed to be paid for by the Child Nutrition federal funds for an alternate meal at no charge to the student. Federal regulations state that once a child takes a plate, the plate cannot be returned to the serving line. This is why the student’s plate is taken and discarded if they do not have their lunch money.

Our District has adopted a 30-day grace period for returning students, allowing them to eat on their last year’s lunch status for 30 days. After 30 days, if a new application has not been processed, their status changes to “Paid” status and they must pay full price for all meals.

Any new students must have all of their registration paperwork and documentation processed in their school office before a lunch application can be processed for them. They do not even show up in the Child Nutrition software records until the registration process has been completed.

We all agree that this is not a perfect policy for the students of Simpson County School District. We have exhausted all efforts to find an alternate solution. Our board attorney is working to have legislation drafted in hopes that we can get our Mississippi legislators to address this issue. Please help us by contacting your local representatives asking for their help in this matter.

Oct 3, 2019 --8:30 a.m.
Oct 3, 2019 --8:30 a.m.
Board Work Session