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ERIC Number: EJ976776
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-May-9
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0277-4232
Districts Tackling Meal Debt
Shah, Nirvi
Education Week, v31 n30 p1, 17 May 2012
School districts have resorted to hiring debt collectors, employing constables, and swapping out standard meals for scaled-back versions to try to coerce parents to pay off school lunch debt that, in recent years, appears to have surged as the result of a faltering economy and better record-keeping. While the average school lunch costs just about $2, when meals go unpaid repeatedly, cafeteria managers have found the debt adds up quickly. Ultimately, the burden falls to cash-strapped districts to pay off if school food-service departments can't collect. Nutrition directors, under pressure from school boards about the losses, are clamoring for help from the federal government. In response, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is testing new methods to curb the problem, which is growing despite new efforts to identify more students who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals but whose parents don't apply. Without a standardized method for dealing with the problem, cafeteria managers say they will continue to butt heads with principals, some of whom say students need to get school meals regardless of what they owe.
Editorial Projects in Education. 6935 Arlington Road Suite 100, Bethesda, MD 20814-5233. Tel: 800-346-1834; Tel: 301-280-3100; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; Connecticut; North Carolina