Meal Charge Policy

Breakfast and the afterschool snack and supper programs are universally free for DCPS students, where programs are applicable. DCPS students who are classified as free or reduced, or who attend a Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) school will receive a lunch at no charge to the student.

If your student does not qualify for free lunch meals (details on qualifying for free lunch meals here:, 2019- 2020 lunch prices are below.

2019-20 Student Lunch Prices

  • Lunch will be $3.00 this school year, for all grade levels.

Meal Payment

Students' meal accounts function as a debit account. When a student goes through the lunch line to receive a meal, they give the cafeteria manager their name or number. The cost of the meal is then deducted from their student meal account.

If there are insufficient funds in the student's meal account, the student still receives a meal, and the student meal account will show a negative balance with the associated cost.

Students can pay for meals in two ways:

  1. By paying with a credit or debit card at an online prepayment service

    • Setup SMART PAY to automatically add money to account whenever it reaches a low balance

    • Receive low balance notifications to remind you when funds are low

  2. By sending a check or money order made payable to the DC Treasurer to the following address*:

DCPS Food and Nutrition Services
1200 First Street, NE, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20002

*The student ID# MUST be included.

Insufficient Funds Notification

If a student’s balance goes below zero, the student’s parent/guardian will receive communication with the amount due on the meal account balance and instructions to put money into their student’s account. Routinely throughout the school year, parents/guardians of students with negative meal balances will receive automated emails, texts, and phone calls.

There is no limit to the amount of negative balance a student can accrue. There are no alternative meals served to a student with a negative balance. Students will continue to accrue negative balances until additional funds are put into their account. When funds are put into a student’s account, it will first pay off the negative balance. If a student’s balance is not paid at the end of the year, it will roll over into the next school year.

For more information, visit the DCPS website at