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! As we continue to seek ways to maximize revenues and minimize expenses through sound fiscal management and the procurement while increasing the quality of meals we serve to 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 low-fat chocolate (at lunch only)., both
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. New this year, Breakfast and Lunch are 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.
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.
STOP the Monday Morning Lunch Money Madness!!
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.
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.
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.
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. Meals, food and beverages sold or served at schools meet state and federal requirements based on the USDA Dietary Guidelines. https://www.cnpp.usda.gov/dietary-guidelines
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. 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. 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.
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. This can be kept in a safe place or destroyed once the number is memorized. Students will be responsible to memorize the PIN and keep track of their account balance.
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.
For Outstanding Balance Accounts
- Once a student meal account reaches a low balance, the student is given verbal notice by the computer software and also by the Manager/staff .
- For families who use the Paypams online payment system, the system includes a default email reminder to replenish lunch account balances when the student’s meal account funds reach $12.
- Once a week each Cafeteria Manager K-8 sends low balance letters home with students, printed Thursday to deliver on Friday. (Based on information provided by building administration, High School is the exception, due to logistical difficulty getting letters to individual students)
- Once a week each Cafeteria Manager K-12 provides the School Principal or Assistant Principal with either an emailed list or a printout (by grade) of all students who owe money on account.
- When a student’s meal account balance reaches $10 owed, an automated message is generated (telephone and/or email), notifying the parent/guardian that their student has an outstanding balance and to contact their school cafeteria manager with any questions. This message goes out weekly.
- When a student's negative balance has reached $25 or more, a new automated message will be generated to the parent/guardian notifying them that their student has an outstanding balance. This message goes out weekly until the balance is paid.
- At the $25-or-more level, the low balance letters at that point are sent by the principal / assistant principal at all schools, K-12, instead of kitchen managers. Managers provide the letters for the principal or assistant principal to sign and mail home to the parents.
A blank free/reduced meal application is included with the Administrator letter.
CIVIL RIGHTS NON-DISCRIMINATION STATEMENT
In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity, in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.
Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the Agency ere they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, heard of hearing, or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.
To file a program discrimination complaint, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, AD-3027, found online at How to File a Program Discrimination Complaint and at any USDA office or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:
(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;
(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or
(3) email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.