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Students With Delinquent Lunch Balances Could Lose Privileges Under Revised Policy

The School Committee is considering punitive options for students and families who maintain negative lunch account balances.

Students with consistent negative lunch balances could find delayed report card delivery, bans on athletic activities and withholding of diplomas by the school system this year.

According to a revised food service policy read at the , students with delinquent accounts will be notified that the following actions may be taken if payments are not made by an agreed-upon date between the student’s family and the principal of the student’s school: 

  • Delayed issuance of report cards, transfer cards and class assignments
  • Prohibition of participation in food service program
  • Prohibition of participation in future fee-based activities
  • Prohibition of eligibility for high school privileges
  • Prohibition of participation in senior activities and graduation exercises
  • Referral to small claims court and/or District Attorney’s office

Students with a zero account balance will be provided with an "alternative" meal at a reduced price under the new policy. The meal would consist of a nut-free sunbutter sandwich, fruit and milk.

School Committee member Suzy Littlefield said this was the progress she’d hoped the school department would make, but she questioned the legality of the measures.

“Last year we were told we had no levers,” she said. “These are the things we investigated last year. I’d much rather use [these]…Are they legal now? Can we use them?”

School business manager Judy Belliveau said they were.

“I saw nothing that said we couldn’t do it,” she said, adding that she drew from similar measures in other school systems around the state.

Littlefield, along with the rest of the committee, was pleased with the revised policy. The committee will vote on the policy this morning.

“If you can’t pay your lunch bill, perhaps you shouldn’t pay your [athletic activities] fee,” Littlefield said.

roger weinreb August 30, 2012 at 12:31 PM
Despite the obvious slow learning curve the school committee is beginning to realize that it is the taxpayer who has been cheated by the delinquents. Those who are delinquent must be held accountable. About time the school committee comes to that reality

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