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Child with a school lunch tray
FREE Meals at School Program

September 30, 2020

The Indiana Department of Education has now given Indiana schools the approval to start. HSE Schools will start this program effective immediately.  According to the USDA, this program is currently in effect until December 31, 2020 or until funding runs out.  

What is considered a free meal?
Students can receive 1 FREE lunch AND 1 FREE breakfast per school day.  Meals must meet the existing USDA guidelines that HSE Food Services has followed in order to be free.  This includes an entrĂ©e, fruit, vegetable and milk. The meal must contain at least 3 components, one must be a fruit or vegetable Ala carte items will still be an additional charge.  These items include extra entrees and milk and snacks/drinks. School menus can be found on our website at hseschools.org/services/food.

How do I know if my child is purchasing a meal that qualifies as free?
As a result of this change and the fact that we know parents will want to ensure their student is getting the meal at no charge, we will be modifying our service to ensure that all students who purchases an entree will have the minimum choices necessary to be able to qualify as a free meal.   For example:  if a student chooses a sandwich entree or a salad entree, they will be asked to also choose a fruit or vegetable in addition to make it a full meal.   Students are allowed to get both a fruit and vegetable at no charge and milk is optional.  

Why must meals meet certain guidelines to be FREE?
The USDA wants to ensure that any meal that is funded by the government meets certain nutrition qualifications.  A school cannot be reimbursed for parts of a meal, the meal must be sold as a unit.

Will my student still use their lunch account?
Yes, students will still use student lunch accounts.  Families can still deposit money into accounts for the purchase of ala carte foods.  If families would like to request a refund or transfer of funds in accounts, you can do so by completing our online form at hseschools.org/services/food.  The meal waiver can be back-dated to September 1.   In the coming days, HSE Food Services will be refunding purchases for qualified Paid price breakfasts and lunches to student cafeteria balances.

Do I need to pre-order meals for when my student is at school?
You do NOT have to pre-order meals for when your student is in school.  The pre-order forms are ONLY for virtual student days.  We will continue to offer our weekly distribution of pre-ordered meals for virtual student days on Tuesdays from 4:00pm – 6:00pm at HSE High School and Fishers High School and this will now be  FREE for all families, but you MUST pre-order. Stay tuned to weekly order forms sent to your email to pre-order those meals.

Are school meals and the school meal environment safe?
Details about the precautions HSE Schools is taking can be found in the HSE Schools Operation Plan.  We have made the necessary modifications to the way our food is served to ensure that our students are safe and continue to make the school cafeteria a positive experience for our students.

Do I still need to complete a Free/Reduced application if I think I qualify?
This program is currently only in effect until December 31, 2020.  After that date, student eligibility status will revert back to either Paid, Free, or Reduced.  If you were approved for Free/Reduced, that status remains in effect for the entire school year. Textbook assistance will still require a student to qualify for Free/Reduced via the meal application in order to qualify for assistance. 
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Hamilton Southeastern Schools

  • Central Office
  • 13485 Cumberland Road, Fishers, IN 46038
  • Office Hours: M - F 7:30am - 4:30pm 
  • (317) 594-4100  (800) 905-6665

  • HSE Schools wants to hear from you! To send a general inquiry to the District Administration Office, click here. 

Our Mission

Hamilton Southeastern Schools, as a forward-thinking school district, provides educational opportunities to ensure the success of each and every student, to become a responsible citizen and to positively influence an ever-changing world community.