Rhode Island School District Sics Collection Agency on Parents Over Unpaid Lunch Money

Illustration for article titled Rhode Island School District Sics Collection Agency on Parents Over Unpaid Lunch Money
Screenshot: WPRI

The Cranston Public School District in Rhode Island is kicking off the New Year by sending debt collection agencies after parents who have not paid for school lunches since September.

NBC 10 reports that Cranston Schools Chief Operating Officer Raymond Votto Jr. recently notified parents of the decision via a letter. “In an effort to reduce our unpaid balance, the District has retained the services of a collection agency. The company is Transworld Systems and they will begin their collection efforts effective January 2, 2019,” the letter said.

The school is seeking debts from parents who owe $20 or more. Elementary school lunch costs $2.50 per day, and middle and high school students are charged $3.25 per day.


The school, which has dismissed $95,508 in unpaid lunches from September 2016 through June 2018, has a balance of $45,859 in unpaid lunches for this school year. “In the past, the school district has attempted to collect unpaid lunch balances without much success,” Votto said in the letter. “The District lunch program cannot continue to lose revenue.”

In the meantime, Votto said that school lunches will continue uninterrupted. “We’re feeding the children. That’s not in dispute. We offer free breakfast,” Votto said.

Lois Clemens, the grandmother of a student in the school system, expressed empathy for both sides: “Yeah, $45,000 is a lot of money for the school district to not have, but then, on the other hand, I know what it’s like not to have enough money,” she said.

Votto did not immediately respond to Jezebel’s request for comment.

Prachi Gupta is a senior reporter at Jezebel.

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capra hircus

Perhaps instead of charging families for lunches, we should just increase school budgets* to provide healthy lunches to all students regardless?

*I’m aware this is likely to include an increase in taxes. I am ok with that, as the cost of school lunches distributed across a large population, like say an entire town, would be a very small increase. Furthermore, I would see it as an investment in the future. I don’t have any links, but I’m willing to bet that kids that get decent lunches have better educational and later occupational outcomes than kids that don’t, meaning when I’m old, there will be good doctors and other people to take care of things.