(02/21/2012)
By Bob Weaver

Calhoun Schools have answered questions regarding thirteen civil suits filed against parents or guardians for the non-payment of school meals.

The suits have been filed in Calhoun Magistrate Court, indicating delinquent payments ranging from $58 to $1000, which have court costs ranging from $75-$85.

Superintendent of Schools Roger Propst says "The Calhoun school board have made many attempts to collect the overdue lunch bills... dating from last school year 2010-11," indicating multiple notices for payment arrangements.

The unpaid accounts, in this case about $8,000 at the end of last school year, have been to families that either did not qualify for free or reduced meals or simply did not take the time to submit an application.

Propst says the current rate of eligibility for free or reduced meals is 67% of Calhoun students.

The system no longer relies on students to carry bills to parents, but uses a third party company to do the billing, which has made it more convenient for parents to make payments.

He says it is important to note that unlike most other government run programs, reimbursements to the Child Nutrition Program have not always kept up with costs to keep the program going.

"For that reason the Calhoun BOE must supplement the operation of the program each year. Money used for this comes from the very small pot of discretionary funds available to us so it is important that we keep costs as low as possible and collect everything we can from those who must pay for their lunch," he said.

"We understand that very rarely is it the fault of the student when lunch bills are not paid which makes it very difficult to exercise our option of no charging and pay as you go."

"I do not believe we have ever sent a child away hungry. We have either provided an alternate meal or someone pays for the student's meal," Propst concluded.

See related story THIRTEEN SUED FOR NON-PAYMENT OF CALHOUN STUDENTS LUNCH BILLS


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