The Finance Committee of the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board of Education will discuss tonight the plight of students who show up at the cafeteria for lunch, only to find that their meal payment account is depleted.
Nutrition Services Coordinator Kate Mason-Schultz, in the draft of a letter to parents, noted that the district “is not required by state or federal law to provide a meal at no charge to students.”
Actually, private donations have wiped clean the deficit accounts of students from low-income families who are eligible for reduced-lunch subsidies from the federal government but still owe the district for lunches provided to them at no cost.
But the administration is proposing a less heartless outcome for other hungry students.
Under the proposed procedure, if a student does not have enough money for a meal, he or she will be allowed two meal credits that will be charged to their meal payment account.
After those credits have been exhausted, students will be offered a complimentary sandwich, fruit, vegetable, and milk in place of the regular menu.
If the account balance continues to go unpaid and the student continues to appear with no money nor a packed lunch, then school personnel will attempt to contact the child’s parent or guardian.
Some school districts have come under criticism for forcing a student to return to class on an empty stomach just because their parents have neglected to put money in their lunch accounts.
The district doesn’t want this to happen, but they don’t want to have to eat the cost (no pun intended) at taxpayers’ expense either. Hence, the board’s dilemma.