FAQ

Our Most Frequently Asked Questions


If you have a question other than those below, e-mail the director. 

Is there a way to check my child's cafeteria balance on-line?

You can access your student balance through your student's Infinite Campus Portal.  There is a tab for meals that should be updated daily. 

Please contact your individual school for more information.


We have yet to get approval from the school board to invest in opening up an online payment system.  If you wish to have this service, please contact your board representative to make your desire known.  

If we have a “No School” day because of a storm what will the next day’s menu be?

In Elementary Schools, we will serve the meal that was to be served on the storm day the next day.  We try to get back onto the printed menu as soon as possible.

 

Are there peanuts or any other nuts in any of the food?

In the K-8 schools, no nut products are on the menu.  Some schools are nut-safe and all can have nut-safe tables in the café.  High Schools do offer pbj sandwiches as a menu choice.  While the school can be nut-safe, there cannot be a nut free facilty.  Many more items are now being identified as "Processed in a facility that contains nut or nut products."  These items are so common, they cannot be excluded from the menus.  We will identify these items as possible.  Check with your school nurse for more information.

 

Why does the menu say “Subject to change without notice”?

Sometimes foods we have ordered for that day’s menu do not arrive in time or are the wrong item.  In these cases we must substitute menu items.

 

Have you ever thought of a system so that students can vote for breakfast and lunch?

 

Great question!  First off, we do conduct periodic taste tests in the cafeteria. These taste tests serve as a direct way for students to try potential new menu items and give immediate feedback.  We do pay attention to the results from these tests, so please encourage your children to try the foods at the taste tests and vote!

 

As far as additional avenues for feedback, we are creating an online survey that will be open to both students and parents.  This survey will allow you to give us feedback on existing menus as well as things you would like to see added or removed from the menu. 

 

Your friendly foodservice staff in the cafeteria is also the first line of contact for thoughts and ideas you have about school food.  They work really hard to feed your children every day and take a lot of pride in what they do, so do not forget to give them a great big thank you to show your appreciation for all their hard work!

 

 

How healthy is the food you serve? Are there guidelines you have to follow?

 

The food we serve meets the new USDA guidelines as determined by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, signed into law in 2010.  This was the first major change to school food standards in over 15 years! These standards are designed to address obesity and encourage optimum nutrition for your children. 

 

Yes, the food we serve is healthy! Here are some reasons why:

·         We provide multiple fresh fruit and vegetable options daily on the salad bar, to empower our kids to make healthy choices when selecting foods. 

·         All of the grains we serve are whole grains, (pizza crust, rolls, buns, pasta, rice, etc.). 

·         We always offer at least one vegetarian option.

·         The meat we do serve is lean meat.

·         We do not use trans fats, and limit the use of saturated fat.

·         We limit the use of sodium.

·         We only offer low and non-fat dairy products.

·         We strive to offer as much fresh, Maine grown products as possible. As of April 2015 we served over 139,000 pounds of local foods during the 2015-2016 school year alone!

·         Every Friday is Farm Fresh Friday, when multiple items are sourced from local farmers and fishermen

 

Where does your food come from?

We purchase food from a number of local and national distributors. We also source some foods directly from local farmers and fishermen as well as bakeries, and dairies. Approximately 36% of the foods served last school year were grown, caught, processed, or produced in Maine and neighboring New England states. We are hoping to increase that to 50% by next year.

 

Can I pay for my meals by the week?

With the new Point of Sale System, it is preferred that you pay for the week or even longer.  The account is only charged if the student takes a meal or milk.  Any leftover funds at the end of school carry over to the next school year – even if the student changes buildings.

 

Why can’t I have A La Carte items for my lunch?

Students may buy an extra item with the new POS system.  It will be deducted from their account.  Free and reduced students will need to have money in their account in order to do this.  No student may charge an a la carte item.

 

What if there’s pork on the menu and I can’t eat it?

Pork is not on a menu unless there are other choices that do not have pork as an ingredient.

 

What if I have lactose intolerance and can’t drink milk?

You must to bring in a doctor’s note attesting to the fact and give it to the school nurse.  The doctor must specify what the substitution should be:  soy milk, rice milk, etc. There is only one soy milk approved as a substitution or Lactaid Milk.  All other substitutions must be supplied by the parent or charged as an a la carte price.

The nurse will contact the Food Service Department and make arrangements for a substitution.

 

Who writes the menus?

The Food Service Director designs the menus, using a computer program called “Nutrkids”which insures that the meals meet the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  Under the Communities Putting Prevention to Work Grant through Healthy Portland, our Local Foods Manager is redesigning the menus for even more local foods and still meet our US Healthier Meals Challenge Silver or even Gold Award.


What schools are offering free meals for every student?

As of September 2012, the following schools are offering free breakfast for every student (and staff if they are eating with students in the class room):

East End, Riverton, Presumpscot, Lincoln Middle.

As of September 2012, Reiche School is offering free breakfast AND free lunch for every student.

We also offer free breakfast each Monday at Portland and Deering High Schools.

What schools are offering free meals for every student?

Universal Meals: Universal meal programs continue to expand to eliminate the stigma of free or reduced price meals and ensure all students get a chance to eat meals offered at school.

  • Reiche and Presumpscot Schools will serve breakfast free of charge
  • EECS and Riverton will serve breakfast free of charge
  • All middle schools will serve breakfast free of charge.

Deering High and Portland High will serve breakfast free of charge

.

All students who qualify for free or reduced price meals receive breakfats for free. Breakfast is served in the classroom to all students at Reiche, East End, Riverton and Presumpscot elementary schools. We are running a pilot program at Lincoln Middle this year as well.

Students must take at least two items and can take all three.

The impact of breakfast on academic performance is one of the most highly studied relationships in all of food service. The bottom line is that students cannot learn if they are hungry. Often students don’t eat for a variety of reasons but the Breakfast for Learning program in our elementary schools simply offers the meal for all students in the class room. Students may decline the meal if they have eaten at home, don’t want it, etc. No longer do students in these schools have to choose between breakfast or recess in the morning.

All juices served, even the frozen fruit slushy at lunch, are 100% fruit juice.