Monday, April 23, 2012

Bamberg trustees address lunch money problems

I can understand the need to allow students to charge their meals. Children in poor, rural counties are likely the children of under-employed South Carolinians.

If Governor Nikki Haley finds a spare minute in her day -- I know it must be crowded with national media requests and fashion photographers, all clamoring for an audience with her grace -- she might give some thought to improving the plight of children in her native county.

For now, trustees of the Bamberg school district are left dealing with how to collect lunch money and how to keep the school lunch program afloat with meager resources.

The news comes from reporter Jerry Halmon of the Advertizer-Herald:

There is “a significant problem” in this district collecting lunch money; Bamberg School District One Superintendent Phyllis Schwarting told trustee board members at their March meeting. In offering an administrative rule to go along with policy that is presently in place, the Superintendent noted that by policy students in middle school and elementary school are allowed to charge up to $10 only for meals.

Now students are charging up to $25 worth of meals and are receiving bills of $100 or $200 in the middle, elementary and primary schools. “This has created a significant cash deficit for the food service,” Schwarting commented, adding “we do have to look at something to help us.”

It was noted that typically from $ 8,000 to $ 10,000 is owed to the food service program (which is supposed to be self sufficient) each year. Profits earned in the food service program go to the district to cover part of the $180,000 it (the food lunch program) owed the district a few years ago, but has “come down some the last few years.”

The Superintendent stated the district needed to look at lowering the amount a student could owe for meals to $10, noting that most people could come up with $10 more so than $25 or $50. Board Chair Rita Sease wanted to know if the same policy would apply to adults as well as students, noting that she did not think adults and students should be treated the same.

Superintendent Schwarting said she will bring back a separate policy to address adult lunches, noting that she did not think any changes in the policy could be implemented until next year.

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