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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Charging for school lunches

Question: I went to the freshman orientation today and was curious why the school board would adopt a policy saying there will be no charged lunches for students. So, what are they supposed to do if a child forgets his or her money/lunch or the parents forget to send money? Do you make them starve? I know at the middle school it came in handy twice to be able to charge when my child forget their money and I could not drive from Albany to bring it to them. I think it is wrong you do not allow them to charge for an emergency.

Answer: First, this is NOT a Board of Education policy. However, the board has encouraged me to collect outstanding charges through small claims court, if necessary, as a result of abuse of the system. In the past, the district has ended up with around $5,000 of unpaid charges each year.

That being said, at the elementary level, a student will never go without a lunch. They won't get a hot lunch: Children who forget their lunch or money from home will be served a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, milk and fruit, which meets the nutritional requirements for New York State. Their account will still be charged, but no student will be turned away no matter how many charges they've made.

At the secondary level, students who have more than $5 in charges on their account will not be allowed to make additional charges until their account is paid. They will not be offered even a cold lunch.
- answered by Stephen Tomlinson, District Superintendent

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