School lunch debt
9-Year-Old Boy Uses Allowance To Pay Off His Entire Class’ School Lunch Debt
Nine-year-old Ryan Kyote paid off the school lunch debt of his entire third grade class, an amount of $74.50 – and he did it using the allowance money he’d been saving. According to local Napa, California, station KGO, he wanted to find out how much his school owed after his mom told him about the issue of school lunch debt. The whole school had a debt of $700, which was out of Ryan’s budget. The staff at the school district office were surprised, but happily took the money, which Kirkpatrick pulled from Ryan’s savings account. Then his mom took a picture of him beaming and holding the receipt.
While most states have laws against refusing to feed hungry kids at school no matter their balance, some have harmful policies like only serving cold lunches of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to kids who are in debt to the school. Parents have until June 30 to pay their balance before the amount is simply absorbed by the school district – and where it might affect the budget in other ways. What I hate most about these school lunch debt stories: they even fed the kids in goddamn Oliver Twist. Of course, the burden of solving the issue of school lunch debt shouldn’t rest on the shoulders of nine-year-old boys. A better solution would be free school lunches for all – or better yet, better solutions to bigger problems like the minimum wage, the wage gap, the childcare crisis and we could go on.
For now, and for today, we’re thankful to kids like Ryan and moms like Kirkpatrick. Ryan and his mom hope that his small gesture inspires other families to pitch in before the school year ends.
School lunch debt is growing problem – Louisiana Budget Project
Few issues exemplify the struggling needs of schools and low-income families like school lunch debt. Like the cost of living, the cost of educating a child grows every year, yet many school districts face stagnant funding at the state and local levels. This means that when parents cannot pay for school lunches, or as in the scenario below, an error in processing free-lunch applications results in debt, schools feel the need to collect. Every day, Kyrie did what school kids across the country do. He punched his student number into a keypad at the end of the lunch line, ate his food in the cafeteria with friends, and got on with the second half of his school day.
Reimbursements then dropped off for reasons the school has not made clear to Jones. Instead of getting free lunch every day, Kyrie had been racking up lunch debt-nearly $1,000 worth of it. The Jones family’s school lunch debt has prevented Kyrie from participating in school activities such as dances, while other schools block field trips or even contract private debt collectors. That K-12 students in the D.C. area, which comprises multiple school districts, owed a collective $500,000 in unpaid lunch balances.
At the end of the 2017-2018 school year, Denver, Colorado’s school districts saw meal debt rise to $356,000 from $13,000. Help students by fixing busesTwenty-five million American students ride school buses to school. Just like with health outcomes, we found strong and convincing evidence that school bus retrofits led to improvements in academic performance, particularly for English test scores.
Warwick school lunch debt sparks concern for other districts
Warwick Public Schools recently scrapped a modified policy they were using to curb the city’s student lunch debt, which as of Monday stood at $77,000. School officials say they carry the debt frm year to year until a student graduates or leaves the district. On Tuesday, they school committee announced students who are in debt would no longer be limited to a single lunch choice. Warwick schools also reversed course on the decision to not accept any donations to the department to alleviate some of the debt. Angelica Penta, owner of Gel’s Kitchen in West Warwick, was the first to present Warwick schools with a donation.
In March 2018, Penta started a money jar to help students who struggle to afford lunch. More than a year later, she said she presented a $4,000 check to both West Warwick and Warwick to put towards school lunch debt. West Warwick Public Schools accepted the check from her and will apply it at the end of the year, but Warwick Public Schools would not accept her donation. A GoFundMe page was also created to raise money to pay off Warwick’s school lunch debt. Many districts in Rhode Island employ a similar policy to Warwick’s and serve a cold sandwich to students who have accumulated a certain amount of school lunch debt.
One local lawmaker is also looking into ways to eliminate student lunch debt statewide. According to an estimate by the state’s budget office, the free lunch proposal wouldn’t cost anything in the remainder of this fiscal year, but could cost up to $33.6 million in 2020 and as much as $34.4 million in 2021.
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