Purchasing School Meals

  • Each student has a personal debit account linked to their PPS student identification (ID) number. A student’s identification number can be found on their student body card, or on district communications like the fall student verification form or report card. Students enter their 6-digit student ID number into a pin pad to purchase meals in the school cafeteria. If unavailable, school cafeteria staff can manually look up the student’s meal account by their name.



    • If a student in your household attends one of the following Provision 2 schools, breakfast is at no cost to you: Arleta, Astor, Beach, Benson, Bridger, Creston, Faubion, Franklin, Grout, James John, Jefferson, Kelly, Lane, Lee, Madison, Markham, Marysville, Ockley Green, Peninsula, Roosevelt, Vernon, Vestal, Whitman, Woodlawn. If a family meets the federal income guidelines and completes a meal application that is approved, lunch would be at no charge. If a family does not qualify for free or reduced meal benefits, they can send a lunch from home with the student or purchase lunch in the school cafeteria. 

    • If a student in your household attends one of the following Community Eligibility Program (CEP) schools – Alliance @ Meek, Boise Eliot/Humboldt, Cesar Chavez, George, Harrison Park, King, Lent, Pioneer Program, Rigler, Rosa Parks, Scott, Sitton, or Woodmere, a meal application is unnecessary (unless you have another student in the household who attends a Non-CEP school that may qualify for meal benefits by meeting income guidelines). Breakfast and lunch is served at no cost. Even if lunch is brought from home, students can go through the lunch line and receive unlimited fruit and vegetables with a milk for FREE!

    If a student in your household does not attend any of the CEP schools listed above, please review the following information.



    • Families who currently receive free or reduced meal benefits must re-apply each school year. They have a 30 day grace period to apply for meal benefits at the start of the following school year. Please note:
      • Meals (one breakfast, one lunch per school day) are free within this grace period but if there is a lapse in coverage, families are responsible for any meal charges incurred or they can supply a meal from home for their student(s).
      • If an application is submitted within the 30 day grace period and is denied, the grace period no longer applies and meals will be charged to the student account accordingly the day the application is processed.
      • If a meal application is approved free or reduced, only the first meal (one breakfast, one lunch per school day) is served at no charge. Additional meals and/or ala carte items (e.g. milk) will be charged to the student account. These meal charges can be paid by cash, check (payable to Portland Public Schools) or online via SchoolCafe. NOTE: SchoolCafe charges a 5% convenience fee per transaction.
      • Next school year’s (2018-19) meal applications can be submitted on or after July 1, 2018 when the new federal income guidelines are published.

    • If your family qualifies for SNAP, TANF or FDPIR benefits at the start of the school year and you have received a Direct Certification approval letter, you do not need to submit a meal application. If you did not receive a letter or there are students missing in the letter, please contact the PPS Meal Benefits Office at 503.916.3402 or email mealbenefits@pps.net. NOTE: DC notification letters are sent to the address listed on the benefits application. To update your contact information, please contact the agency that issued the benefits (e.g. DHS - The Department of Human Services) directly.

    • If you received free or reduced meal benefits prior to enrolling to Portland Public Schools, please contact the PPS Meal Benefits Office at 503.916.3402 or email mealbenefits@pps.net to ensure your benefits continue seamlessly.

    • Students who are eligible for free and reduced-price meals may also be eligible to receive additional benefits such as educational fee reductions and/or waivers as well as low cost internet (contact your Internet provider for more information). If you submit the Permission to Share form with your meal application, you can authorize the release of your Free or Reduced eligibility status to program officials that oversee the specified benefit(s). If you do not submit a form -- no information will be released. Just keep your meal benefits approval notification letter as proof of eligibility when applying for benefits. 

    • Families who do not qualify for free or reduced meal benefits can apply anytime during the school year if circumstances change. Example, income and/or household size changes that can make them eligible by meeting federal income guidelines. NOTE: Federal income guidelines are adjusted each fiscal year. The 2018-19 income guidelines will not be available until July 1, 2018.

    • Meal applications can be submitted online or paper. To submit online, click here. To request a paper copy, please contact the school office or cafeteria.



    To ensure funds are available on student meal accounts, parents or guardians have three prepayment options to choose from:

    1. Enroll in the online prepayment service SchoolCafe. (NOTE: MySchoolBucks was the payment system last school year. All positive account balances were transferred over to SchoolCafe.
      NOTE:  SchoolCafe charges a 5% convenience fee per online transaction.
    2. Provide a cash prepayment to the cafeteria. Cash back is not provided, any remaining change will be added to the student’s meal account. If there is a positive balance at the end of the school year, it will automatically rollover to the following school year.
    3. Bring a check made payable to Portland Public Schools to the cafeteria. Please write your student’s first and last name and student ID (if known) on the check.



    Families can monitor meal transactions online via SchoolCafe (www.schoolcafe.com) or school cafeteria staff can print out a transaction history report upon request. SchoolCafe also offers the following features:

    • Setup automatic payments
      REMINDER: SchoolCafe charges a 5% convenience fee per online transaction
    • Setup low balance alerts
    • Apply for free or reduced meal benefits
    • Download the mobile app for easy access

    Currently, SchoolCafe does not accept Discover or AmericanExpress credit cards for online meal payments. SchoolCafe is working on adding these options in the near future.



    Weekly negative balance email notifications coming from 'PrimeroEdge', the Nutrition Services software, will be sent to parent/guardians with an email address on file. If you are not receiving email notifications, please check your email filter settings as they can be going to your Clutter or Junk Mail folder. If you do not have an updated email on file, please contact the school secretary to have one added. Letters will be mailed to families who do not have an email on file, frequency to be determined. Phone calls are also made by cafeteria staff. To review the procedures, click on the link below. If you have questions about account balances, please contact the school cafeteria.

    2017-18 Procedures for School Cafeteria Meal Accounts 



    To place meal restrictions on a student account, it must be submitted in writing. Please provide a letter to the school cafeteria which includes the date, student name, school name, a description of the restriction(s) and parent/guardian contact information. 

    Examples of restrictions:

    • Do not allow student to purchase second meals
    • Do not allow student to purchase meals, only milk



    All student account balances (positive and negative), automatically rollover to the following school year. If your student(s) has funds and no longer attends Portland Public Schools, you can do the following:

    • Request a refund (contact information below). NOTE: Refund checks may take up to 4-6 weeks to process.
    • Request the funds be transferred to a sibling's student meal account
    • Request the funds be donated to a specific school to pay off negative balances

    NOTE: Unclaimed funds that have not been used two consecutive years are sent to the State of Oregon. To request these funds, please check the State's web site.




  • 2017-18 Menu Prices

    Grades Breakfast Lunch
    PK-5 $1.50 $2.80
    6-8 $1.50 $3.05
    9-12 $1.50 $3.30
    Reduced* $0.00 $0.00
    Adult $2.25 $4.30
    Milk  $0.50 $0.50
    Second Meal Prices
    PK-5 $1.80 $3.40
    6-8 $1.80 $3.65
    9-12 $1.80 $3.90

     *Funding provided by the Oregon Legislature to eliminate the reduced price for school meals.


  • SchoolCafe