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Old 04-11-2012, 02:13 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
149 posts, read 371,669 times
Reputation: 92

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chapelhillnews.com | Taxpayers to eat unpaid school lunch tab

I'm always happy to see my tax dollars used to reinforce the lack of personal responsibility by others.

I really think they should've just sold the debt to a collection agency after the numerous attempts to collect in completely reasonable ways. Didn't we learn enough about moral hazards in the last couple of years?

Please note I believe that food is a basic need and that no child should go hungry. However, the behavior of the parents in question and the school board in response in this case is disappointing.
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Old 04-11-2012, 02:42 PM
 
Location: under the beautiful Carolina blue
15,755 posts, read 23,998,422 times
Reputation: 11710
We're in Wake County and if the kids don't have money for lunch, they give them crackers. And the cafeteria no longer accepts money at lunchtime - if you want to buy you either have to have your account stocked with money or you bring it to the lunchroom in the morning (by which they are really encouraging you to just do it online). If the kids have a low balance, they put a sticker on their clothes before they reach a zero balance.
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:13 PM
 
9,198 posts, read 21,171,001 times
Reputation: 8516
I saw that article this morning too, huck, and was a bit befuddled. I know any business has to write off some level of bad debt, but I really question whether this is the right approach for the school district and taxpayers. There is a free and reduced lunch program for those families who cannot afford to pay the cost of school lunches. I don't know that the district needs to effectively create yet another subsidization program by mass debt forgiveness.
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:34 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
8,264 posts, read 21,819,942 times
Reputation: 5509
This is the way Wake handles it:
"Child Nutrition Services is not allowed to charge meals. You may take money to school for your child. If this is not possible, contact your child's school office. Each school should have an approved method for handling students without lunch money. Most schools do not have a provision to provide breakfast at school if students forget money.
If there is no provision for your student to borrow lunch money at school, Child Nutrition Services will provide an "all you can eat" fruit and vegetable plate with a cup of water at no charge to the student at lunch. (We are sorry but we are unable to provide French Fries or Potato Rounds as part of the all you can eat vegetables. Other vegetables and fruits may be selected as part of this complementary lunch.) Teachers should provide the coupon for this fruit and vegetable meal before the student comes to the cafeteria. Students may not use this free fruit vegetable option for more than three days
."

I would not be happy with debt forgiveness for full lunches in this situation. There is a program for free and reduced lunch if eligible. Otherwise, parents need to provide lunch or lunch money and the school system should attempt to recoup that money. Child Nutrition services is usually on a shoe string budget as it is!
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Old 04-11-2012, 05:49 PM
 
450 posts, read 1,357,592 times
Reputation: 375
I know I'll probably get blasted for this, but here goes:

Background: I grew up going to a school where you had to purchase what you ate, each day (there were no pre-paid coupons or anything like that). If you did not have cold, hard cash then you did not eat, period! The cafeteria at my school was run by a couple, who owned it as a small business (no money went to the school, other than the rent they paid for their shop).

I think that school lunches should be a part of the budget. This should include every kid, regardless of means, and the program should provide breakfast and lunch. I know what some are going to say, "But those of means can pay for it while the poor children should get it for free!". Well, if we all pay for it as taxpayers, then the families who make more money are already paying more money in taxes, which would then go to pay for the food. In essence, they are paying for it in higher taxes.

Kids should not go hungry, period! It leads to poor grades, low attention spans, grouchiness, and bad behavior (trust me, I was in this situation quite a bit as a kid). Having all kids eat healthy meals, and not go hungry, will improve the overall quality of the education they receive. I cannot tell you the amount of times I kept my "lunch money" and saved it up to buy candy, stickers, games, or other stuff after school. This led to me acting out quite frequently, and I never understood the correlation until I read/studdied further once I was in college.

Trust me, it would be a much better experience for all of us if we, as taxpayers, just provided the food for these kids.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:56 PM
 
1,106 posts, read 2,951,564 times
Reputation: 825
At my school we have about 900 kids. a lunch costs $2.50. In a year of school that is $409,500. So I don't see schools just putting it in their budgets. I see two types of kids who owe money: One that parents don't take it seriously and the other that parents don't have the money but do receive food stamps and also qualify for free lunch but are slow at getting it done. Once the free or reduced lunch paper is done it is not retroactive so it doesn't take care of balances.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:48 PM
 
982 posts, read 2,145,909 times
Reputation: 770
Before I started school, I remember my mom getting up early each morning and packing up brown bag lunches for my four older brothers and sisters.

If parents are receiving food stamps, then they ought to use that money to buy stuff to pack lunches for their kids, or pay for their lunches through the school system.

What happened to personal responsibility on the part of parents to care for their kids?

If people are unable to care for children financially by affording their physical needs, emotional needs, and helping children with learning and school assignments, then there is an alternative called "birth control".

I knew a woman in Chicago who kept having kids just to collect money from the state, and didn't care what happened to them regarding their education, because she wasn't educated enough to help them. She left it up to the schools to feed them. It was a generational thing. Not so sure how much this happens around here, but in the inner cities, it's way out of line.


best,
toodie
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:51 PM
 
1,596 posts, read 2,694,247 times
Reputation: 974
If there is one thing in this world I don't mind paying for, it's food for kids. Even if their parents are dead beats.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:57 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
8,361 posts, read 12,068,360 times
Reputation: 8035
Quote:
Originally Posted by lamishra View Post
This is the way Wake handles it:
"Child Nutrition Services is not allowed to charge meals. You may take money to school for your child. If this is not possible, contact your child's school office. Each school should have an approved method for handling students without lunch money. Most schools do not have a provision to provide breakfast at school if students forget money.
If there is no provision for your student to borrow lunch money at school, Child Nutrition Services will provide an "all you can eat" fruit and vegetable plate with a cup of water at no charge to the student at lunch. (We are sorry but we are unable to provide French Fries or Potato Rounds as part of the all you can eat vegetables. Other vegetables and fruits may be selected as part of this complementary lunch.) Teachers should provide the coupon for this fruit and vegetable meal before the student comes to the cafeteria. Students may not use this free fruit vegetable option for more than three days."
More upsetting than the article the OP posted is the fact that Wake County School District spelled "complimentary" wrong. Unless they meant that the lunch they provide is color coordinated to the student's clothes, I assume the lunch is free and should be "complimentary" not "complementary." Ugh.
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Old 04-11-2012, 11:04 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
8,264 posts, read 21,819,942 times
Reputation: 5509
Ha! I didn't even notice that!!!
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