School Lunch Note Says Students Might Not Get Fed

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Some local parents are concerned about school lunch cutoffs. A letter sent out says children may not receive a lunch if their account dips below zero.

At Cleaveland Elementary School, the note went home with students last week. It says your child will not get a lunch at all if your account falls below zero for longer than three days. The school district says it has to draw the line somewhere.

"At first, I was a little bit angry because when you send your kids to school every day, you assume that they're going to get fed lunch," said Amber Foshag-Sawyer, a parent of a Cleaveland student.

Now that the end of the school year is near, the schools are clamping down on delinquent accounts. The policy, they say, has not changed.

"We all know as parents that there are days that are so hectic that you just don't remember," explained USD 259 Nutrition Director Vicki Hoffman. "On the way out the door the child says, 'Oh, mom, remember I'm supposed to have meal payments.' And so the online meal payment system and the phone payment system can be used."

Even so, the note specifically says your child won't get anything and that's something that some parents have taken exception to.

"When a kid goes to school hungry, they're not going to learn very well, so the thought that there would be a chance that any of the kids would not get a lunch that day, it's disappointing," Foshag Sawyer said.

The district makes the policy known to evey parent at the beginning of every school year. The notes are simply a reminder to tidy things up before summer break.

"If we allow charges to go on and on, it's difficult for parents to pay back a large negative sum," Hoffman said. "And so all the way around, we've found that it works best if we keep that charge policy lower."

Some schools do have their own contingency food that they will give to children who may be behind in fees, but the district stands by its policy that they won't get a hot lunch if the account is more than three days behind.

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