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Students with delinquent lunch payments sent to detention

Updated: Tuesday, October 29 2013, 05:59 PM CDT
Reported by: Christina Butler

COLUMBIA -- A letter sent home with students in the Columbia Borough School District is getting lots of attention.

Last week, a letter informed parents that beginning Nov. 4, any student with five delinquent lunch payments (roughly $12) would be forced to eat lunch in the detention room and only served a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 

"It bothers me because why should a child be punished for something the parent should be taking care of," parent Jennifer Wakefield said.

Superintendent Ken Klawitter says the district had no choice once an audit showed the school was thousands in debt when it came to cafeteria funds. He believes some of the high school students do have money for lunch, but are simply choosing not to spend it.

About 40 kids would be impacted next week, all in junior or senior high. In the last two days, 20 percnet of the overdue payments have been taken care of.
Klawitter says its a leverage type policy.

"School lunch is - everyone wants to be there. So the hope is if they have to miss it they'll really communicate that to their parents," he said.

"We are not going to let a child sit there forever. We'll make every effort to get the situation resolved. If we can't we will turn it over to a collection agency and then we can show our taxpayers and our auditors, yes we gave it a good-faith effort we did this we did this and we did this," he added.

Parents who are concerned can contact the district. Even working out a payment plan of a dollar or two a week would prevent the student from having to go to lunch detention.




Students with delinquent lunch payments sent to detention


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