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PowerLunch is the lunch management portion of PowerSchool. The system helps you monitor meals sold, including free and reduced lunches, as well as student account balances and transactions.

PowerLunch is compatible with a wide selection of bar code and magnetic-strip readers. If your school is properly equipped, students can use their lunch IDs to have their accounts automatically debited as they pass through the lunch line. A full array of reports is available, including meal count reports and transaction reports.

Meal Classifications

PowerLunch classifies cafeteria patrons into several categories. This helps schools maintain records on how many meals are sold. PowerLunch meal classifications include two main groups of patrons: students and adults.

Additionally, use the classifications to prepare reports for government funding. It is important to understand each category before you can set up PowerLunch for your school.


Most people that eat lunch at school are students. They are divided into six groups based on the amount each pays for meals:

  • Free: These students have qualified for the free lunch program and are not charged for meals. This is based on the financial situation of the students' families.
  • Reduced: These students have qualified for a reduced price for meals. This is based on the financial situation of the students' families.
  • Full Pay: These students pay the full, standard price for meals.
  • Exempt: These students do not pay for their lunch because of special programs set up by the school. Some schools exempt students because they periodically work in the cafeteria in exchange for lunch. Others allow it because the student has participated in another program that benefits the school in some way. If a school does have such a program, students are usually exempt for specific days only. Generally, students are not exempt from paying for lunch every day. If a student is exempt, the government does not subsidize that lunch. It is important to understand that exempt students are not the same as those who receive free lunches. Whether a student receives free lunches or not depends on the family's financial situation. Students who are exempt from paying for lunch are designated as such because they participate in a school program that allows for it. If a student is exempt, the government does not subsidize that lunch, whereas a free lunch is subsidized.
  • Free-Direct Certification: These students are certified by the state and Local Education Agencies for eligibility in the Free School Lunch Program.
  • Temporary: These students visit the school and receive lunch there.


While most meals are served to students, some are served to adults. There are three classifications for adult patrons:

  • Staff: Staff work at the school or in the school district. Staff members include teachers, administrators, counselors, custodial staff, and maintenance workers.
  • Guest: These adult patrons do not work at the school. Visitors such as parents and on-site PowerSchool trainers are guests.
  • Earned: These adults have earned a free meal by working at the school. Some schools offer this type of program to those who work in the cafeteria or other part of the school. This classification is the equivalent of the exempt status for students.
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