A Rhode Island school district hired a collection agency to help collect unpaid meal balances.
The Cranston School District in Cranston, Rhode Island, sent a letter to parents saying the district hired Transworld Systems to collect unpaid meal balances for the district’s lunch program, NBC 10 News reported.
âIn an effort to reduce our outstanding balance, the district retained the services of a collection agency. The company is Transworld Systems and they will begin their collection efforts as of January 2, 2019, âsaid the letter obtained by the news station.
Raymond Votto Jr., director of operations for the Cranston School District, told NBC 10 News that the district had unsuccessfully tried to collect the lunch debt on its own. He told the news station that from September 1, 2016 to June 30, 2018, the school district wrote off more than $ 95,000 and the outstanding balance for that year is currently $ 45,859.
âThe district’s lunch program cannot continue to lose revenue,â Votto told the news station.
News week contacted the Cranston Public School District for comment, but did not receive a response in time for the post.
A typical lunch at a Cranston public elementary school costs $ 2.50 a day, while middle and high school students pay $ 3.25 a day for their meals, according to NBC 10 News. Votto told the news station that parents who owe the district $ 20 or more or who haven’t paid the balance within 60 days will receive a letter from the collection agency early next year.
Votto said The Journal of Providence that parents also receive a letter when their child eats five times with no money in their lunch account.
âObviously, we continue to feed our children, regardless of the sales,â Votto told the publication.
The school district told NBC 10 News that it offered an alternative lunch of a sandwich, fruit and milk to students whose parents owed a lunch debt, but stopped offering the meals when they noticed that parents did not pay the bills. Votto also told the news station that the school district offers free breakfast.
In 2017, a law was passed in California that prohibits “lunch humiliation,” which prevents schools and school districts from publicly shaming students by denying them lunch or providing them with a snack instead of a complete meal.
âWhen President Truman created the National School Meal Program, it was based on a fundamental principle that we will feed our children in school because it helps them learn and respects their human dignity. This is not partisan. “Senator Bob Hertzberg said previously in a statement. “When you are treated differently as a child in school, it is shameful. And in this case the child is hurt as a tool to collect the debt of his parents. It makes no sense.”