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Deer Valley dad aims to pay nearly $50K in district school-lunch debt
A Phoenix dad, prompted by an act of kindness towards him, is trying to raise $48,000 to pay off student meal debt in the Deer Valley Unified School District. Rigo Gonzalez, 33, launched a GoFundMe campaign to help parents who struggle to come up with money for school meals, which range from $1.25 to $3 for the basic meal. School districts around the country vary in how they handle students in the lunch line without money, according to a 2014 U.S. Department of Agriculture report. When debt accrues, school officials contact parents through written memos, emails and phone calls, she said. “But if there’s enough interest, I want to get the district debt free by the end of the school year.” An act of kindness from the community at his children’s school inspired him to pay it forward. Gonzalez said he understands how lunch costs can pile up, and “Extenuating circumstances” like a looming electricity disconnection notice or emergency medical bills can lead parents to defer payments for school meals. “I don’t think families should have to worry on how they are going to pay for school lunches,” Gonzalez said. Meal debt at West Valley school districtsMeal debt at two other West Valley school districts were not nearly as high. The Arizona Republic checked with the Dysart Unified School District, which covers Surprise and El Mirage, and the Peoria Unified School District, which covers Glendale and Peoria. Arizona schools hired 1,035 underqualified teachers this school year. Seattle dad, GoFundMe campaign pay off school lunch debt.
Nashville schools: Board asks help paying unpaid student lunch debt
Nashville schools board Chair Anna Shepherd wants community members to put an end to lunch “Shaming,” challenging residents to pay off student lunch debt. Shepherd last week requested Metro Nashville Public Schools place a list of unpaid lunch balances within the district. Heeding her call, district officials released online Tuesday a list of 26 schools with unpaid school lunch balances of over $200.The total unpaid lunch balance of those schools totals $67,692. “If they go unpaid, the school has to find money to pay for them,” Shepherd said. “There are not a lot of discretionary funds in Metro Nashville Public Schools.” Unpaid lunch balances are a recent issue for the 86,000 student district. The district, which serves mostly low-income students, provides free or reduced lunch to many students. Since the 2018-19 school year, the district no longer is eligible to provide free lunch to all its students. Shepherd said she was unhappy when she found out from families that over the holiday break robocalls went out from the district seeking payment. The district website says community members can donate by sending individual schools by a check to the address listed on each school’s website with a note that funds are meant to retire lunch debt for the school. “Hungry children do not learn,” Shepherd said. Statewide, Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, has filed House Bill 1589 seeking to enact the “Tennessee Anti-Lunch Shaming Act.” The act would ensure students aren’t punished for unpaid lunch debt.
Kids in debt eat a cheese sandwich at school, unless donors help
When parents fall behind, districts, with an eye on the bottom line, typically serve children cheaper “Alternate” lunches, such as a cheese sandwich. A similar sentiment drove a recycling company and other donors in Cobb County to contribute money to the Marietta City Schools, as the AJC reported. That exposed many parents to school lunch debt for the first time in years. “It’s sad to see how some of these kids live,” said Patricia Gordon, an accountant in Gwinnett who taught in public schools in the 1970s. RELATED School lunch debt: Donors pay so students get more than a cheese sandwichExplore. RELATED 8-year-old sells handmade keychains to pay off school’s lunch debtGordon asked how she could donate. That’s understandable; there are 180 school districts in Georgia, and all of them do things differently. So the newspaper contacted a dozen metro Atlanta school districts to ask how donors can pay off meal debt. HOW YOU CAN HELP.Atlanta: Has a new universal free meal program, but may have lingering debt from before the program’s introduction last fall. Ly/37dq0yJ.Buford: The school district said it had no debt because of recent donations. Fayette County: Contact a school’s cafeteria manager when seeking to donate only to that school; otherwise, contact Kokeeta Wilder, the district’s school nutrition program director, at wilder. Otherwise, contact the school nutrition program, 678-301-6246; Ken Yant is the executive director.
Mount Ararat Church pays off lunch debt for hundreds of students
Mount Ararat Church, also known as ‘The Mount’ recently paid off nearly $18,000 in school lunch debt in Spotsylvania County and Stafford County. STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. – The Mount Church made a generous donation that will help hundreds of families. With contributions from its members, the church was able to completely pay off the school lunch debt in Spotsylvania County which was a total of about $8,000. In Stafford County, the church was able to contribute another nearly $10,000 toward the lunch debt there. They paid off the negative balance for four elementary schools which include Park Ridge, Kate Waller Barrett, Anne E. Moncure, and Winding Creek. Pastor Jerry Williams dropped off several checks last week. He decided to record a short video to share on Facebook. The video has been shared hundreds of times and has been viewed nearly 15,000 times. “Can you imagine, these hundreds of families that are about to get a call to say we know you owe a few hundred dollars for your lunchroom school debt, well guess what, that debt has been abolished and you don’t owe that debt anymore,” said Williams in his video. Williams tells WUSA9 he made the video at the spur of the moment and was just trying to encourage others to give back as well. He says he is amazed by how the video has taken off. A spokesperson for Stafford County Schools says they are grateful for this act of kindness because it is not something they see happen very often.