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School lunch debt takes a toll


IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Numerous stories on social media have highlighted the ongoing crisis of school lunch debt. Local schools are also feeling the burden of unpaid meals year after year.

Heather Plain, Bonneville Joint School District 93's Child Nutrition Supervisor, says it's stressful for her staff. They collect unpaid money for meals from parents. Using an hour or more out of the day to contact them. Even principals are using valuable time to collect money owed.

More heartbreaking is children who try to avoid being caught with an unpaid balance.

"We are seeing some children who will come to the line they'll put in their number- we're not talking to our K-8 kids there's no conversation happening in the line. But, they know they owe money and so they'll dart from the line," Plain said.

The district is looking into ways to ease the debt and also prevent it from cycling over each year.

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  1. The saddest part of this–and NO sarcasm intended here–is that it is almost inconceivable these children’s parent(s) almost CERTAINLY have some vice or non-necessity they could forego and cover the tabs for their children to eat. Not just smokes and booze (likely a BIG percentage!), but make-up, shampoos, cable, Internet, Jack-in-the-box, McDonald’s, BK, high-dollar ‘phones’, etc. etc. etc.

    Twenty years ago it would have seemed unimaginable that adults could put children into this position. Now…. I WOULD say something that I would HOPE would offend these ‘adults’, but from what I’ve seen, shame is in the same category as common sense: If not extinct, damned sure close! 🙁

  2. No doubt a large majority if not all families have the money to pay for their kids lunches. One reason is like Thomas states, but the other reason might just be simply, “why pay if someone else will pay for me.”
    Too many people believe other people owe them, too many people believe cause it is for kids we should not even question these free lunches.
    I take another view, you had them, you pay for them!

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