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Food Service 

Dear Parent or Guardian:                                                                                                                                                                            

We are pleased to inform you that Mercer County School District #404 will be implementing a new option available to schools participating in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs called the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) for the 2024-2025 school year.

All enrolled students of Mercer County School District #404 are eligible to receive a healthy breakfast and lunch at school at no charge to your household each day of the school year. No further action is required of you. Your child(ren) will be able to participate in these meal programs without having to pay a fee or submit an application. 

Household and Income applications will be used to determine registration and sport fee waiver eligibility. These forms will be available on the district website and at each school. 

If we can be of any further assistance, please contact us at 309-582-2238.




Tim Farquer

Superintendent of Schools

Household Income Form


Meal Prices 2024-2025

Meal Prices for 2023-2024 are as follows:

  • Lunch (High School) - Free 

  • Lunch (K-8) -Free

  • Breakfast (K-12) - Free

  • Adult Lunch $3.25

  • Adult Breakfast $2.00

  • Milk $.40

  • Semester Milk $30


Meal Charge Procedure

When a student account reaches a $0 balance or below, a notice will be emailed to guardians who have current email addresses in the Teacherease System. These emails will be automatically generated weekly.  Lunch balances are also displayed in the parent portal in Teacherease.  Parents have the option to add money to their student’s accounts by credit/debit card.


When an account is negative, only reimbursable meals will be allowed.  Purchases of ala carte items are not allowed unless there are funds in the student account.  These items will be removed from the tray if there are no funds to cover the price. 


This system is a debit system, not a credit system.  Immediate payment is expected when the student balance is negative.


Meal assistance in the form of free or reduced price meals is available for both the breakfast and lunch programs.  Applications are available on our website or at each building level.


A La Carte Pricing

A La Carte Prices are set using a  calculation from  the USDA and posted in the food lines.


The USDA requires that each School Food Authority limit competitive foods to encourage consumption of the reimbursable meals.The prices should be set high enough to encourage students to select the reimbursable school lunch or breakfast, and the price must recover all costs involved in the item including labor, overhead, paper supplies, value of USDA – donated foods used in preparation, and should reflect a profit on the item.


Smart Snacks in Schools

The USDA has established nutrition standards that took effect on July 1, 2014 that will impact ALL food and beverages SOLD to STUDENTS on the school campus during the school day including the following: A la carte in the cafeteria, vending machines and fund raiser food.

These new government mandates have forced us to eliminate several foods and change portion sizes and brands to make them compliant.  Products can be checked for compliance at the link below.

Smart Snack Calculator


Offer vs. Serve Explanation


National School Lunch Program

Mercer County School District is a participant in “Offer vs. Serve” in the National School Lunch Program.  Offer vs. Serve allows students to decline some of the food offered in a reimbursable meal to reduce food waste by choosing the foods that they actually want to eat.  

A reimbursable lunch menu consists of 5 offered components which are set by the new USDA meal pattern in certain varieties and portion sizes determined by student age.

  • Meat/Meat Alternate minimum

  • Grain minimum  

  • Vegetable

  • Fruit

  • Fluid Milk

For a meal to be reimbursable, it must contain three of the five components, one of which MUST be a fruit or a vegetable component.  (Before the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act, there was not a specification on which components were chosen).  If there aren’t enough components, the food items will have to be charged as “a la carte”, which is more expensive for the student, and not reimbursable as a “Free” or “Reduced” meal.


Decline options: 
Students are allowed to decline 2 of 5 food components but must select at least ½ cup of either a fruit or vegetable. 
Reducing portions
Fruit or vegetable may be reduced to ½ planned portions. Students must select other food components in quantities planned. 


If a student wishes to decline a specific menu item, they should let the server know before they plate up the food, otherwise, the full menu amount will be served.  Hopefully this will allow students to take what they want and avoid food waste while still following the USDA guidelines for the Meal Pattern.



Start your day off with Breakfast!

Breakfast is served at all 5 buildings beginning at approximately
7:30 a.m.

Nondiscrimination: In the operation of USDA Child Nutrition programs, no child will be discriminated against because of race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability. If you feel you have been, please call (309) 582-2238.

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