Food/Nutritional Services

About the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs

The National School Lunch (NSLP) and School Breakfast Programs (SBP) are federally assisted meal programs operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. They provide nutritionally balanced, low-cost or no-cost meals to children each school day.

Participating school districts receive cash subsidies and USDA Foods for each reimbursable meal they serve. In exchange, NSLP and SBP institutions must serve meals that meet Federal meal pattern requirements and offer the breakfasts and lunches at a free or reduced price to eligible children.

All school breakfasts and lunches must meet Federal requirements, though decisions about the specific foods to serve and the methods of preparation are made by local school food authorities. Information about the nutrition standards and meal pattern requirements may be found on the School Meals website.1,2

Qualifying for Free or Reduced Price Meals

Children may be determined “categorically eligible” for free meals through participation in certain Federal Assistance Programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or based on their status as a homeless, migrant, runaway, or foster child.

Children can also qualify for free or reduced price school meals based on household income and family size. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the Federal poverty level are eligible for free meals. Those with incomes between 130 and 185 percent of the Federal poverty level are eligible for reduced price meals. Schools may not charge children more than 40 cents for a reduced price lunch.1,2

For more information, review the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT FREE AND REDUCED PRICE SCHOOL MEALS. Access the Household Application for Free and Reduced Price School Meals at

Food Service Policy

Contact Information

Rebekkah Plano, MS, RDN, CD
Food Service Director
(608) 767-2595 extension 1008

USDA 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), should contact the agency (state or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard 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 complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: How to File a 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:


  1. The National School Lunch Program Fact Sheet

  2. The School Breakfast Program Fact Sheet