GCS proposes changes for unpaid meals
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HIGH POINT - Leaders of the Guilford County Schools are looking at a plan to help them recover the cost of unpaid lunches. Officials said that each year they loose hundreds of thousands of dollars to unpaid lunch bills and now that has to change. Before the plan is finalized, parents have a chance to weigh in on the changes.
Guilford County School leaders said that unpaid meal charges are a big problem for the district.
“It's been a challenge for us, quite frankly. In a budget of more than $600 million, do you think you can find a half million by lapsed salaries and things of that nature to address this? But if folks think about the cuts we've taken on the state level for the past several years, it's become increasingly more difficult to do that,” GCS Chief Financial Officer Sharon Ozmont said.
The board of education will vote on a plan to address the deficit on Thursday. It includes a charge limit of 17-50 per student which equals out to 5 breakfasts and 5 lunches. Once the cap is reached students will be offered and alternative meal. For breakfast that means cheese toast and water; while for lunch students can have four servings of fruits and vegetables, a roll and water.
“While it may not be what is normally on the lunch menu, it is still a nutritious option,” GCS Registered Dietician Sara Williams said.
District leaders say that half a million dollars in unpaid meal charges is a hefty bill to foot and they have to make these changes now to get their budget in order.
“An easy way for people to understand what a half a million dollars means, is when we talk about a teachers salary being around $50,000,” Ozment said, “we're talking about 10 teaching positions we could have in the district if we weren't having this problem.”
Ozment said they'll remind parents about the changes and encourage those unable to pay, to enroll in the free and reduced lunch program.
If you want to share your opinion on this plan, you have until Thursday when the board is set to vote.
You can email your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.