School district in Monroe County may need to pay $69,000 in school lunch debt

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – A school district in Monroe County may be on the hook for $69,000 in school lunch debt because of a change that made sure every student got a hot meal.

At Monroe County Community School Corporation, school lunch debt is usually paid through donations and some money set aside in the school budget. It's a more expensive policy that the school corporation started two years ago. It was so every student could have the same hot lunch even if there's no money on the account.

At the end of April, $105,000 still needed to be paid for. That is according to John Kenny, the Director of Business Operations for MCCSC. The amount went down a little bit after $36,000 in donations. That still leaves $69,000.

Kenny said the school district set aside $20,000 in the school budget to help pay off the school lunch debt. That brings the number down to $49,000.

"We have been monitoring it closely," said Kenny. "It's a factor of 11,000 students and lunch charges."

Kenny said the donations are slightly lower and the charges are much higher this year than last year. He said they are looking for areas of savings to help cover the extra amount.

This amount does not include families who receive federal help to pay for school lunch. It is other families who are not paying.

"It’s people who did not meet or did not apply for those guidelines," he said.

One parent of a student was not too bothered by the lunch debt. He said it's better than having a child not get a meal because of missing money.

Kenny said the administration and school board are looking at this situation carefully to determine what the next steps will be. As for whether hot lunches will continues, that decision is up to the school board.

Parents can make payments until June 30. Any donations made until then will go to a fund to help pay off the school lunch debt.

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