Lunch It Forward program helping all Fairfield youth shed lunch debt
A suburban New Jersey school district that was criticized for proposing a plan to serve tuna sandwiches to students who owed lunch money approved a policy that would prohibit children with lunch debt from attending activities such as the prom. According to the new policy approved by the Cherry Hill school board Tuesday night, students in the district, about 9 miles east of Philadelphia, who have overdue balances will receive a hot meal but not a la carte items. If a student’s lunch debt climbs to more than $75, high school students may be barred from purchasing tickets for school dances including proms until the bill is paid in full, the policy states. It will be up to each school’s principal whether to enforce the policy, which includes the possibility of banning high school and middle school students who owe more than $75 from participating in extracurricular activities, attending class trips and buying a yearbook until the debt is settled. At elementary schools, students may not be allowed to participate in after-school events or go on class trips until their $75 balance is paid off, according to the policy.
The policy also states that school officials will make several attempts to contact the student’s parents regarding the unpaid bill and will encourage them to apply for free or reduced lunch if they have not already done so. In August, the Cherry Hill school district came under fire after it proposed giving tuna sandwiches to students who owed more than $10 in lunch debt and no food to those who had a balance of more than $20.In a statement at the time, Superintendent Joseph Meloche said a student has never been denied lunch because of a delinquent bill. He also said that in 2017, the district’s $25,000 lunch debt was erased but has since climbed again to $18,000. Minyvonne Burke is a breaking news reporter for NBC News..
CHERRY HILL, New Jersey – The Cherry Hill Public School Board has voted to change its policy on school lunch debt as it works to find a solution to encourage delinquent parents to pay up. The revised policy allows students who have outstanding lunch debt to choose a hot lunch from the ‘meal of the day’ menu but no a la carte items. The latest rule prohibits students with $75 of overdue meal fees from participating in activities like prom, extracurricular activities or buying a yearbook. Even with the more lenient changes, parents are disappointed children are being punished for parent’s lack of payment. Dr.
Vibiana Cvetkovic raised her children in the district. Under the previous policy, Cherry Hill Public School District students owing more than $10 would only be allowed tuna sandwich meals. Once a $20 debt was accrued, the student would not receive any food from the school at all, though 6abc is told this part of the policy was never enforced. The superintendent says that this new rule actually breaks from state policy which requires that meals be withheld. There is an outstanding lunch debt of $15,000 in the school district with an operating budget of more than $200 million.
In order to collect, the school principal and guidance counselor will reach out to parents by letter, requesting payment. If the debt isn’t paid within 10 days, the administration will make a phone call. If the debt reaches $75, they’ll hold an in-person meeting.
Local and national leaders propose new changes to eliminate school lunch debt
Student lunch debt is a growing problem nationwide, as families aren’t able to pay for a hot meal. Fargo schools have committed to make sure that no child goes without hot lunch, regardless if they have the funds to pay or not. This has led to more than $30,000 in school lunch debt as of this year. When local families in both Fargo and Moorhead are not able to pay up, they’re sent to debt collections. Monday, it was proposed that the district stop referring families to social services or collection agencies.
The idea would be to pull money from the state’s Legacy Fund and use that to deal with lunch debt. West Fargo says donations pay off their debt completely. Breckenridge Public Schools announced Tuesday that their school lunch funding for needy families, The Breck Angel Funds, is low. On a national level, presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders tweeted Tuesday that he is teaming up with Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar on a bill that would ensure every child in America has access to school meals and wipe out existing debt. Local organizations, state leaders and national figures are all stepping up in hopes of coming to a solution where families no longer have to worry if their child is eating at school.
A Florida man decided to surprise his community by paying off the lunch debt of every child in their town, Jupiter, but the good news doesn’t stop there. When Andrew Levy found out more than 400 students in his area were unable to receive a full meal because they couldn’t afford to pay for school lunches, he stepped up to the plate. Levy paid $944.34 to cover nine local schools’ lunch debt, something he said was a modest price to pay to make a difference for each child. BEER FAN CARSON KING DROPS OFF $3M CHECK TO CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL, CONTINUES TO RAISE MONEY FOR CHARITY. And by sharing his deed on social media, the real estate agent took it one step further.
The School District of Palm Beach County, a much larger area, set up a form for people interested in helping out erase the $50,000 accumulated for over 180,000 enrolled students.