After many discussions regarding child nutrition, the Floyd County Board of Education is hoping to get closer to making final decisions in regard to addressing the school lunch debt.
At a Monday board meeting, which will take place at Pepperell High School in Lindale, the board will review a presentation regarding some ideas to address the lunch debt, which has hovered between $31,000 and $32,000.
According to a presentation listed on the school board’s website, board members will hear a number of proposals to address the debt, such as charge letters being sent home and not allowing students with negative lunch balances to buy “extras.”
In the past, head of child nutrition Donna Carver said that federal laws don’t allow her to “write off” lunch debt. Some donors have been helping pay off lunch debt at individual schools which has kept the debt from rising. However, there is no official protocol for how to accept those donations.
Right now, there are no set-in-stone consequences for guardians and parents who don’t pay for their student’s lunch. The board has been hesitant to offer an alternative lunch like vegetable plates and cheese sandwiches. However, it may not be completely off the table. Superintendent Jeff Wilson has said the board is considering that alternative.
Wilson has also said that he doesn’t believe many parents know they may qualify for free and reduced lunch. At a work session on Feb. 1, the board discussed numerous ways to make parents more aware of the benefits of qualifying for free and reduced lunch.
“Our free and reduced lunch numbers aren’t where they should be,” Wilson said.
Like Rome City Schools, FCS once had a free lunch system. However, according to the FCS website, a paid lunch system was reinstated in 2019. Wilson said it was costing the system too much money. The free and reduced lunch form is available on the Floyd County School Board’s website, along with an explanation of why the system went back to having lunch be paid for.
The next board meeting will take place at Pepperell High School, 3 Dragon Drive in Lindale. Caucus will begin at 5 p.m. in the school’s conference room. The regular meeting is at 6 p.m. in the school’s media center. Both meetings are open to the public.