Students now charged for cheese sandwich ‘entrée exchange’ at Abilene ISD

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Students who have accumulated more than the allowed negative lunch account balance will now be charged for a cheese sandwich ‘entrée exchange’ at Abilene ISD.

Due to new State and Federal mandates enacted by Texas Senate Bill 1566 and the United States Department of Agriculture, Abilene ISD and other Texas school districts must have a charge policy for all students.

Effective in January 2018, AISD students who have accumulated a negative balance of $6.00 in elementary schools or a negative balance of $2.75 in secondary schools will have their entrées exchanged for a cheese sandwich. 

Student Nutrition Director Jay Towell explained the process to KTAB and KRBC, saying students will go through the lunch line and select all five components of their meal (an entrée and 4 sides), but if the balance of their lunch account is over the allowed negative threshold, the entrée will be swapped for a cheese sandwich. 

This entrée exchange will be charged to the student’s account at a cost of $2.20 for elementary schools and $2.40 for secondary schools. All sides are included in the cost. 

The entrée exchanges were going to cost the same price as a normal meal, but school board members decided to discount the program during a Wednesday night meeting. 

Students who receive reduced lunch prices will pay $0.40 for the entrée exchange, and the entrée exchange program does not apply to students who receive free lunch. 

Prior to this policy change, an AISD representative says students who had too large of a negative balance on their lunch accounts were given cheese sandwiches and “select sides” free-of-charge.

Under the SB 1566, all school districts in the State of Texas must adopt a policy on unpaid meal balances, no longer allowing for the complementary substitution. 

Families who struggle to keep a positive balance on their students’ school lunch accounts are encouraged to apply for AISD’s free or reduced lunch program.

The applications can be found here and are usually processed within a day. 

Parents can keep track of their students’ lunch accounts and even add money and pay balances by signing up online at

Towell says AISD is willing to work with all parents when it comes to their students’ negative lunch account balances. 

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