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Child Nutrition Program



Beth Krause, Director of Child Nutrition
Phone: 607-274-2302
Fax: (607) 274-6836

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Updates and Announcements

Prioritizing Healthy Learners: School Meals Update
The ICSD is committed to ensuring all students have access to high-quality food. To help ease the burden of meal payments for families, we have switched our online meal payment platform to MySchoolBucks; will no longer be sending out negative meal fund balance letters or making phone calls to families; have digitized the application for free and reduced price school meals; and will increase communication around school meals. Read our December letter to families to learn more.
Online Application for Free and Reduced Price School Meals Now Available
We have digitized the application for free and reduced price school meals! We know that this has been a barrier for many families in completing the form, and we hope that with the transition to online access, more families will take advantage.

The application is live and can be accessed here: Online Application for Free and Reduced Price School Meals/Milk (click on “Select District & Continue”).

For more information about free and reduced price school meals, click here.
Meals are No Longer Free through the USDA 
Meals are no longer free for all students. Only students that qualify for free/reduced meals will be exempt from paying, with the exception of BJM and Enfield, where all students receive free meals. 
2022-2023 Meal Prices
Elementary: $1.65
Middle: $1.90
High School/LACS: $2.15
Adult: $3.00 (includes tax)

Elementary: $2.75
Middle: $3.00
High School/LACS: $3.25
Adult: $5.75 (includes tax)
A la carte milk: $0.75
Reduced meals: $0 - paid by NYS 
Apply for SNAP
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have wide-ranging health and economic impacts, please know that you may be eligible for programs that will help you buy food for your family, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Learn more and apply today!
Apply for SNAP button
FAQs: P-EBT Food Benefits
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020 authorized the payment of Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) food benefits to households with children who would have received free school lunches under the National School Lunch Act, if not for school closure. These temporary food benefits are to help cover the cost of meals children would otherwise have received at school. To learn more, view Frequently Asked Questions for the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) Food Benefits.

The Ithaca City School District participates in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program, administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In addition to providing reimbursement and government-donated commodities for meals, the USDA also sets the nutrition standards our meals must meet.

School meals offer students fruits and vegetables, proteins and grains, and milk, all of which they must meet strict limits on saturated fat and portion size. The USDA Guidelines include:

  • Age-appropriate calorie limits
  • Servings of vegetables and fruit
    • Students MUST take ½ cup serving of fruit or vegetable with their meal
  • A wide variety of vegetables, including dark green and red/orange vegetables and legumes
  • Fat-free Milk
  • More whole grains
  • Less sodium
While 5 options must be offered, only 3 need to be taken for the school to receive reimbursement for the meal. One of those 3 must be a fruit or a vegetable. (In addition to students who receive free or reduced-price meals, we also receive a smaller reimbursement for students who pay for their meals). Schools receive reimbursements from the federal government and a smaller reimbursement from the state government.

So students can take a vegetable, a fruit, and a grain and that would allow the school to be reimbursed. Students could also take a protein (such as a Cool School Food bean-based entrée), a vegetable, and a fruit, for the meal to be reimbursed. As long as students take 3 options, and one is a fruit or a vegetable, the school district gets reimbursed.

Water must be made available to all students and is available in all cafeterias.
Customer Service

The employees of the Ithaca School Food Service Program are committed to providing students with nutritious, tasty meals in an atmosphere they will enjoy. We understand that a hungry child cannot learn. School meals serve as a building block to promote the growth and development of our students and can provide one of the tools they need to achieve a positive and optimal learning environment.

Meeting the nutritional needs and food preferences of Ithaca students is the department’s primary goal. We invite parents and students to contact our staff with any comments or requests. If you have a favorite recipe you would like to submit, we are always on the lookout for new menu items and try to incorporate new and different foods that children may not have tasted before.

Consumer education is one of the goals of the food service department. You and your child(ren) will observe the following throughout the school year:

  • Free samples and taste testing in student cafeterias
  • New food items highlighted on the printed menu
  • Cool School Foods – Plant-Based Foods From Around The World

We also make every effort to accommodate students with food intolerances or allergies. District-wide, there are many students with food allergies, some of which are life-threatening. If your child has lactose intolerance, a food allergy, or other medical condition that affects their diet, please obtain a note from your physician and send it to the school nurse. The note should indicate the food(s) the child cannot eat and recommend substitutions when applicable. A note will be put on the child’s account to alert cashiers to check the tray when the child comes through the line.

If you have questions about food allergies or any other facet of the school lunch and breakfast programs, please call our office at 607-274-2302. We also invite parents to join their children for lunch at any time. Please contact the main office at your child’s school to make arrangements if you wish to visit.