CPS Meal Program: Frequently Asked Questions

Posted on 11/28/2017

The goal of the Cabot School District is to provide students with healthy meals each day. 

Recently, there have been many questions regarding school lunches including, allowing students to charge meals, negative balances owed, alternate meals, and providing free lunches to all students.

We hope this information will give parents, students, and the community more insight into our student meal program.

One question we often hear is that some school districts provide free meals to all their students, why can’t the Cabot School District do this as well?  

Those districts are not actually paying for those meals for their students. It’s part of the Community Eligibility Provision program.  At least 40% of students at each school must meet certain requirements to participate in the program.  Schools submit eligibility information to the state agency and unfortunately Cabot Public Schools does not qualify based on the CEP funding formula.  

Free and Reduced Price Meals

The Cabot School District encourages anyone in financial need to apply for free and reduced price meals. This is a federal program and the application can be completed online. It’s private and confidential.  If anyone needs assistance with the paperwork, we’re more than happy to help. Paper forms can also be found in your child’s school office. Click HERE for more information and to complete the application. If your student has a negative balance and the family subsequently qualifies for the free and reduced meal program, the district covers the negative outstanding balance.

Also, if your family doesn’t qualify for free and reduced meals and you’re going through a difficult time, please communicate with your building principal, counselor, or Food Service Director Erin Wilkes. We will provide all the assistance necessary; however, we need to know in order to help. 

Charging Meals/Alternate Meals

We also understand there may be times that a student forgets or loses their lunch money or there may be other extenuating circumstances and a student may need to charge a meal. Technically, we are NOT allowed to extend credit for meal purchases. HOWEVER, we know that it’s unreasonable to not allow charges.

We tried to find a middle ground on making sure we keep the balances owed in check while still providing kids with a meal. So, we do allow students to charge a maximum of $10.00. According to our district handbook policy, once a student reaches this credit limit, he/she will not be allowed to charge a meal or a la carte items.

The district will provide an alternate meal daily to K-6 students who have a negative balance of $10.00. The sample lunch includes a turkey or ham sandwich, vegetables, fruit, and milk. A sample breakfast is cereal, toast, fruit, and milk.

Please understand, the district makes every effort to contact parents BEFORE we have to start providing the alternate meals. While we’d prefer not providing alternate meals, this option does allow us to lock the student’s account so that the negative balance does not increase while still being able to provide a nutritious meal.

Students in grades 7-12 who have a negative balance of $10.00 will be responsible for their own meals. An administrator would be required to override any additional charges. Please be aware that every time a student goes through the cafeteria line, they can be provided with their balance. Parents can also access their student’s balance anytime.

We have a wonderful community with amazing patrons that are raising funds to help pay overdue lunch fees. We appreciate everyone’s generosity. We will be working closely with the organizer of the fundraiser to determine the best way to make sure all funds collected are used to benefit kids. Currently, the total amount of overdue lunch fees across the district is $15,693. You are very appreciated!

Remember, if you are a family that is facing financial hardships, the most important thing you can do is to let us know. There is no deadline to apply for free and reduced meals. If you don’t qualify for that program, we are still willing and able to provide assistance as needed. For any questions, please contact our Food Service Director Erin Wilkes, 501-843-3363.

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Cabot Public Schools

Elementary Schools (Grades PreK-4)

Central Elementary
36 Pond Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3564
Fax: (501) 843-4503
Eastside Elementary
17 Bellamy Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3563
Fax: (501) 843-5619
Magness Creek Elementary
16150 Arkansas Hwy 5, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3565
Fax: (501) 843-7567
Mountain Springs Elementary
3620 Mountain Springs
Road, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3575
Fax: (501) 605-1300
Northside Elementary
814 West Locust Street,
Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3568
Fax: (501) 843-6032
Southside Elementary
2600 South Pine Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3567
Fax: (501) 843-6229
Stagecoach Elementary
850 South Stagecoach Road,
Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3574
Fax: (501) 605-1221
Ward Central Elementary
1570 Wilson Loop Road,
Ward, AR 72176
(501) 743-3569
Fax: (501) 843-9744
Westside Elementary
1701 South Second Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3566
Fax: (501) 843-5802

High School (Grades 10-12)

Cabot High School
401 North Lincoln Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 843-3562
Fax: (501) 843-4231

Academic Center of Excellence
(Grades 7-12)

Academic Center of Excellence
21 Funtastic Drive, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3520
Fax: (501) 843-0283

Cabot Freshman Academy

Cabot Freshman Academy
18 Spirit Drive, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3576
Fax: (501) 941-1505

Cabot Learning Academy

Cabot Learning Academy
813 West Locust, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3540
Fax: (501) 843-3138

Special Programs

404 North 2nd Street, Cabot, AR 72023
(501) 743-3543
Fax: (501) 941-2613

Central Administrative Office

602 North Lincoln Street, Cabot, AR 72023
(501) 843-3363
Fax: (501)843-0576

Middle Schools (Grades 5-6)

Cabot Middle School North
1900 North Lincoln Street, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3571
Fax: (501) 605-0413

Cabot Middle School South
2555 Kerr Station Road, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3570
Fax: (501) 941-7432

Junior High Schools
(Grades 7-8)

Cabot Junior High North
38 Spirit Drive, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3572
Fax: (501) 605-8472

Cabot Junior High South
38 Panther Trail, Cabot, AR
(501) 743-3573
Fax: (501) 941-7746