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Dining Services » Student Meal Accounts and Meal Planning

Student Meal Accounts and Meal Planning

Gorham School Dining Services strives toward self-sufficiency, meaning operating without local funds. However, due to the rising cost of everything from food to health insurance, it becomes more challenging every year to raise sufficient income from the sale of meals, a la carte items and subsidy from the state and federal government to balance a budget which is over $1,000,000.00! We continue to seek ways to maximize revenues and minimize expenses through sound fiscal management and the procurement without sacrificing quality meals for our students.

Gorham School Dining Services employs twenty-one people, including a director. Every day we offer a nutritious breakfast and delicious lunch to our students. Our meals exceed the nutrient standards set by the Federal Government. Menus are sent home with all elementary students and are also posted on the website.

Gorham School Dining Services serves healthy, nutritious meals to students, staff, and visitors in 5 locations. Each day over 1600 meals are served. All school menus meet the new USDA nutrition standards.  The nutrient content is reflective of what the average student selects and not what any one student chooses. It is still very important to review meal selections with your students/children and work toward a balance on a weekly basis.

All students have the option to purchase breakfast, lunch, and milk. Elementary breakfast and lunch menus are printed monthly and sent home the last week of each month. A complete meal includes a minimum of three of the following: 1 entrée, fresh vegetable and/or fruit, a grain, and 8 oz. milk or juice; one of those choices *must* be a fruit or vegetable to qualify as a complete meal.   Middle and High School menus are posted daily. All menus must meet US Department of Agriculture standards, be highly acceptable for all students, be tasty, be prepared in a safe manner, and be served with a smile.
 
Students are given choices for entrees at breakfast and lunch. At our Elementary schools, teachers take a count each morning to see who is eating lunch, not to see who wants which meal. This way, students are free to choose any entree at mealtime. There is a full salad bar with fruits, vegetables, and condiments. Milk is offered with all meals - 1% white, skim, and fat-free chocolate (at lunch only).

Breakfast is available to students each morning for $1.25 at all schools and includes milk. You must PRE-PAY to cover the week or more. For Elementary School students, please send in a note to allow your student to get breakfast. Breakfast is now FREE for both reduced and free families.

Please call the kitchen manager at your child's school to check account balances between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. or feel free to leave a message and we will return your call as soon as possible. You may also register for free online at our online payment service, www.paypams.com, to view your child's balances and purchases.
 
 

PRE-PAY STUDENT MEAL ACCOUNTS

All students and staff have a PRE-PAY Nutrition Account. Students use a PIN for the Point of Sale System and their pre-pay account. This system speeds up the lines, maintains confidentiality of Meal Benefits and provides better accounting.

 

When students enroll in any Gorham school, they are assigned a 4-5 digit Personal Identification Number. It is important that each student memorize their PIN as this number will be used daily. The PIN is confidential. Therefore the number should not be given to other students. Safeguards are built into the system to eliminate guessing numbers or using someone else's PIN. When your child transfers to a new school within our district, a new PIN will be issued at that school.

 

Student information will go home the first day of school for students moving into new buildings. The PIN will be different at each building; last year’s number will not work if they change locations. PIN numbers will be handed out during homeroom. Students will be responsible to memorize the PIN and keep track of their account balance. The PIN is printed on a business card-sized form. This can be kept in a safe place or destroyed once the number is memorized.

 

At the cashier, they enter their PIN on the keypad, and pay with money from their prepay account, with cash, or both. Students may have their names checked from a classroom roster instead of entering their PIN if needed. If students have enough money in their account, the price of the meal will be automatically deducted from the balance.

 

Students eligible for free or reduced priced meals will also have to enter their PIN and will be provided with a meal at the proper charge and without identifying them as being free or reduced.

Parents are responsible for the PRE-PAY account. Students are told when their account balance is low.

 

PLEASE NOTE:

 

If your account balance due reaches $25.00, until your balance due is resolved your child will be provided with an Alternate Meal instead of the standard breakfast or lunch entrée. This Alternate Meal will include all the components of a regular lunch but with a cheese sandwich in lieu of the standard entrée, and will be charged at regular price.

 

  • Alternate Meal Lunch is a bag lunch which includes a cheese sandwich, fruit, vegetable, and milk and costs $2.75 for Grades K-8 and $3.00 for Grades 9-12.

 

  • Alternate Meal Breakfast includes a cereal, milk, and juice and costs $1.25.
 
Parents are expected to pay each Monday for the meals the child will eat during the week. The account is only charged if they take the meal or item. If they don't eat, there is no charge. Any funds left over at the end of the year roll over for the next year. Please do not send money daily – it wastes valuable classroom time for everyone.  

PREFERRED PAYMENT METHOD: ON-LINE PAYMENT OPTION:

All parents can view account balances, make deposits, see menus, view lunch purchases, even sign up for Automatic E-mail Alerts for low balances, and/or make automatic payments with any personal computer through the www.paypams.com web site.

PayPAMS

STOP the Monday Morning Lunch Money Madness!!

Deposit $75.00 in any one account via Paypams and receive a free Meal!  Any balances left in June will be rolled into the next school year. Refunds will be made only for families leaving the district or upon graduation; requests for refunds must be submitted to the Dining Services office in writing.

Prepaying for meals by PayPAMS online is highly recommended   Students may also drop off prepayments by cash or check in the school café any morning by 9:00 a.m.  Payments can be made by check, payable to GSNP, with the student name and PIN in the memo area.  All cash deposits must be in deposit envelopes with the same information.  Students may also prepay in cash at the register during lunch only at Gorham Middle and Gorham High.  

All returned checks are charged a fee of $20.00 from the student’s account. A letter is mailed home. The check amount and the fee are automatically deducted from the student account in 7 days.  
 
 

MEAL PLANNING

All menus and foods served by Gorham School Dining Services are regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture, the Maine Department of Education, and Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

The goal of Gorham Dining Services is to provide healthy, highly accepted, affordable meals to students, staff, and the community.  By Federal regulations, the average meal eaten over a week, must meet certain guidelines that are printed on the menu each month.  Approved software takes into account the ingredients, the recipes, the serving size, and determines what the average serving contains. The guidelines are determined by the age of the students in each school.

As featured in the Dietary Guidelines, the terms GOOD or BAD foods are no longer used. There is the recognition that the amount consumed and frequency is the foremost issue.  Therefore, it is still possible to offer a chicken nugget or hot dog as long as other choices are lower fat choices that bring the menu into balance.  This indicator relies on the group average and not necessarily an individual’s choice on a given day.

New, innovative meal choices keep the program interesting for students, introduce new foods, and ensure that all students participate in the program.  Otherwise, the program would tend to only serve the free and reduced students.  This is overt identification of lower income students, a violation of Federal Discrimination Policies.

No matter how healthy a choice, if it isn't eaten, it doesn't do anyone any good.  Unless there is a demand for particular items through exposure at school and home, the waste goes up and cost goes up.  There are also constraints as to what can be served - many of the commodity items the USDA sends to schools are still the traditional high fat meats and nuts.  It can be hard to make these into a healthy meal.  With classroom support, modeling from staff and parents, newer, healthier items can be brought into the cafe with a higher success rate. Conversations with the staff and parents will give all parties the understanding of our nutrition goals and program constraints and hopefully provide positive changes for the future.

As part of meeting the demands of the Maine Learning Results, Gorham School Dining Services and the Community Health Advisory Committee offer support and resources to classroom staff.  In a community transitioning from rural to suburban, there is a great need to keep the students linked to farms as the source of their food.  This can be through seed sprouting in classes or other similar projects, a school garden, guest visits by local farmers, and field trips to the kitchen, the dairy, and the farm so kids know where food starts and why farms are an important part of our community.

Gorham School Dining Services Contact List
Michael Sanborn  
Director of Dining Services   222-1231
Melissa Whitaker
Administrative Assistant        222-1375
Laura Scaplen
Gorham High School              222-1196
Lynn Erickson
Gorham Middle School          222-1217
Diana Blanchard
Village Elementary School     222-1316
Raina Lee Cooper
Narragansett Elementary      222-1259
Nancy Aceto
Great Falls Elementary          222-1200
 
In accordance with Federal Law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call toll free (866) 632-9992 (Voice).  Individuals who are hearing impaired or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish).   USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.