SCHOOL NUTRITION SERVICES
The Breakfast and Lunch Program
It is the goal of School Nutrition Services (SNS) to provide a healthy and nutritious breakfast and lunch daily, while allowing students to choose from the foods they enjoy eating. Menus for each grade level are posted to the CMS website each month.
If you have questions or concerns about our programs, please feel free to call School Nutrition Services weekdays from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm at (980) 343-6041 or visit the School Nutrition department page at cmsk12.org.
2023-2024 Meal Prices
Milk (1/2 pint)
Elementary & Middle School
A la carte
A la carte
A la carte
Students attending eligible CEP schools receive breakfast and lunch at no charge.
All cafeterias offer a variety of snacks and beverages as extra items.
These foods are offered in addition to, not in place of, the regular menu at an additional cost. All food items offered are in compliance with USDA Smart Snacks regulations and are restricted in fat, sugar, sodium, trans fat and calories. Students must have cash or funds available on their account to purchase these items. No credit will be extended.
Special Nutritional Needs
CMS School Nutrition is committed to serving your child a nutritious meal each day. We recognize that some students have special dietary needs due to a medical reason, such as allergy, intolerance or therapeutic diet. A current CMS Diet Order form is available on the CMS website or may be obtained from the school cafeteria manager or school nurse. The Diet Order form will remain on file in the cafeteria computer system until we receive a parent/guardian request that the restriction is to be removed.
Periodically, School Nutrition will send out a letter to all students with a current diet order in our system asking if there have been any changes to the student’s restrictions. If there are no changes, there would be no need to submit another Diet Order form. Incomplete Diet Order forms cannot be processed and will be returned to the parent/guardian for completion.
Upon receipt of each completed form, School Nutrition will modify menus and instruct cafeteria managers in regards to each special diet.
A registered dietitian on staff supervises the management of all special nutritional needs. Parents are encouraged to review appropriate food choices from the menu with their child.
Families desiring to manage diabetes, food allergies, etc., without submitting a Diet Order form, may view information regarding nutrition, carbohydrate content and major food allergens from our interactive menu application called Nutrislice.
CMS School Nutrition does not purchase or serve peanuts or tree nuts or products containing peanuts or tree nuts; therefore, a Diet Order form only specifying a peanut or tree nut allergy is not required.
View Your Digital Menus with Nutrislice
School Nutrition Services uses Nutrislice to display digital menus for all grade levels. You can easily view information about what is on the menu each day and see an image and description of food items, as well as nutritional and allergen information.
Our innovative and interactive site and mobile app make our menus more convenient and informative than ever before! Access any Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools’ menu on a desktop or mobile browser at http://cms.nutrislice.com or get the Nutrislice App on your mobile device in 3 easy steps:
- Download the Nutrislice App (from Apple or Android App stores)
- Open Nutrislice App - Search for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools - NC
- Find your school name in Nutrislice to view specific menus
Many of our school cafeterias plan special events and promotions to make meal time fun and to encourage students to eat healthy meals. Some of our events include Welcome Back to School, National School Lunch Week (October), and National Nutrition Month and National School Breakfast Week (March).
It is the policy of School Nutrition Services that promotions are designed to include all children. The purchase of a meal is not necessary to participate in any promotion.
Community Eligibility Provision Schools (CEP)
CMS is approved to participate in a program called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). Schools that participate in the CEP are able to provide healthy breakfasts and lunches each day at “no charge” for
ALL students enrolled in the CEP school. Visit the CMS website to view a list of eligible CEP schools. If your children attend one of the CEP schools they will be included in this program.
- You do NOT complete a meal application if all of your school-aged children attend a CEP participating CMS school.
- You DO have to complete a meal application if you have school-aged children in your household that attend a CMS school that is not CEP.
- At the beginning of the new school year or during the school year, if a student moves from a CEP school to a school that is not CEP the parent must complete a meal application within 30 days to be considered for meal benefits. Students will need to have money for meals if an approved meal application is not on file.
An application can be completed online by visiting the School Nutrition Services department on the CMS website cmsk12.org. - A paper version of the application can be downloaded from the website and can also be obtained by contacting your child’s school or the School Nutrition Department at (980) 343-6041. Please do not hesitate to contact our office if we can assist you further.
Free and Reduced-Price Meal Applications
The meal application is a family application. Only one application needs to be completed for each household. Apply online for free or reduced-priced lunch by visiting our website or you may obtain a paper application from your child’s school. If you are completing a paper application, please mail to Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, School Nutrition Services, PO Box 668847, Charlotte, NC 28266-8847.
Students who were approved for benefits last year will continue receiving lunch under last year’s approval until a new application is processed. Students have up to 30 days to reapply for meal benefits. Students who do not reapply for the current school year will need money for meals beginning the 31st school day. New students must have an approved application on file before meal benefits begin. At the beginning of a new school year, if a student moves from a CEP school to a school that is not CEP the parent must complete a meal application within 30 days to be considered for meal benefits. Students will need to have money for lunch if an approved meal application in not on file.
Pre-K, elementary and middle school students who do not have an approved application on file and do not have money in their account will receive a complete meal. The price of the meal will be charged to the student’s account. Students will be asked to return any extra items on their tray to the cashier. The student’s parent/guardian is responsible for reimbursing the cafeteria for any money charged to the student’s account, even if an application is approved at a later date. High school students are not allowed to go into the negative to purchase any food items. There is a “no charge” policy in high schools.
The parent/guardian is responsible for ensuring their child has an approved application on file. If a letter detailing the status of the meal application is not received within 10 working days after the application is submitted, call (980) 343-6041 to inquire about the status of your application.
Student Meal Account Information
- All students have their own account and are provided a blue card on the first day of school with their Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and barcode.
- Students will need to enter their PIN or scan their barcode card when receiving breakfast, lunch or purchasing additional items from the cafeteria. CMS student ID badges with barcodes work and are recommended. High school students can also scan a QR code in the cafeteria to obtain their barcode on their phone.
Meal Payment Options
School Nutrition Services will accept payment for purchases in the cafeteria by cash, personal check, money order, cashier’s check at the school or online (credit/debit card.) Money can be placed in the student’s account at any time.
Guidelines for Foods in the Classroom
Foods have played an important role in the classroom over the years in areas of nutrition and science education, celebrations, rewards and in many other ways. Recent changes in society and our environment necessitate that we use foods in the classroom with a measure of caution. Increases in food-borne pathogens that can cause severe illness, the threat of bioterrorism and a great increase in the number of children with potentially lethal food allergies dictate that care be taken with foods brought from home and eaten in school. A policy, “Students with Food Allergies,” was adopted in April 2005 to address these concerns. In addition, the following cautions are to be followed in all schools in order to protect the health and safety of children and staff:
- Any food shared in school must be from an inspected commercial facility and must be labeled with its contents. (e.g., Harris Teeter cupcakes with a printed list of ingredients from the HT bakery, packaged crackers, etc.)
- Fresh fruit and vegetables may be shared, but must be thoroughly washed with friction under running water or in a fruit cleaner. Fruits and vegetables which grow on the ground (melons) should also be washed thoroughly to prevent contamination when cutting. Utensils used for cutting or serving should be thoroughly washed and dried between uses. Avoid reusing a knife that has been used to cut sandwiches with cheese or meat. Cross contamination could lead to allergic reactions or food poisoning.
- Products such as milk, cheese or fruit juice, which have not been pasteurized, may not be shared in the classroom or at school activities.
- The special diet and healthcare needs of all students should be addressed in a confidential and supportive manner by all staff.
- Peanut-free or other allergen-free tables should be designated for children diagnosed with severe airborne or contact allergies to those substances in the classroom and other learning environments where food products may be used. When such an area is designated, a child or staff member (not the child with the allergy) must clean the designated table with previously unused paper towels, soapy water and dry with a clean paper towel. That table must remain free of the allergen at all times. Cleaning should take place before each use.
- It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to provide information regarding a food allergy to the teacher, the school nurse and School Nutrition Services. The school nurse will draft an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) with the parent and will educate staff about the special needs of the child with severe food allergies, after the parent has signed the EAP.
- Foods brought to school to be shared should be checked for content. No foods with known allergens should be given to children who have previously been identified as having an allergy to any of its contents. When there is a doubt, the food should not be given unless the parent states it is safe for the child. Parents may supply “safe” alternatives and request that their child avoid handling any other food products.
- A student with high risk allergy that cannot be avoided in the cafeteria may be allowed to remain in the classroom with adult supervision while the other members of the class go to the cafeteria or the whole class may eat in the room, provided no allergens are brought into the classroom. Such special accommodations, as well as any additional safeguards required for an individual student, should be made in collaboration with school administrators, the school nurse and School Nutrition Services. When appropriate a 504 plan will be developed by the team. Other ways to protect a student with a life-threatening food allergy are found in the new CMS regulation “Students with Food Allergies.”
- Riders on school buses, including the driver, must refrain from eating on the bus as a safeguard against choking and against allergic reactions of students with food allergies. It is important to note that deadly allergic reactions can be triggered by food particles in the air.
- Whenever foods are brought to school for snacks or celebrations, choices that are low in sugar and fat content should be considered.
The following are some healthy snack suggestions:
- Graham crackers, vanilla wafers, ginger snaps
- Carrot sticks
- Dried fruit
- Apple or banana slices
- Small pizza bagels
- Fruit yogurt
Safe and healthy nutrition needs to be taught by example in school and at home. Help all children be healthy and ready to learn.
In April 2005 the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education passed a ground breaking policy that proactively addresses the needs of the growing population of CMS students who have been identified as having life-threatening allergies to certain foods. The policy requires schools to make reasonable efforts to protect the health of children for whom contact with or ingestion of certain foods can be fatal, while not attempting to create school environments that are guaranteed to be free from the risk of contact with lethal allergens.
The regulation, which was approved by the superintendent, goes into more detail on the measures that are to be used to minimize the risk to these children.