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Town Hires Debt Collector to Get Families to Pay for School Lunches
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=49709"><span class="small">Sam Fulwood III, ThinkProgress</span></a>   
Monday, 10 December 2018 09:30

Fulwood writes: "School officials in Cranston, Rhode Island, are getting aggressive in seeking payment from parents in arrears for their kids' meals."

School officials in Cranston, Rhode Island are getting aggressive in seeking payment from parents in arrears for their kids' meals. (photo: Getty Images)
School officials in Cranston, Rhode Island are getting aggressive in seeking payment from parents in arrears for their kids' meals. (photo: Getty Images)


Town Hires Debt Collector to Get Families to Pay for School Lunches

By Sam Fulwood III, ThinkProgress

10 December 18


School officials in Cranston, Rhode Island are getting aggressive in seeking payment from parents in arrears for their kids' meals.

iving new meaning the phrase “no free lunch,” school officials in Cranston, Rhode Island hired a private debt collector to compel parents to pay up on delinquent lunch money accounts.

Chief Operating Officer Raymond L. Votto, Jr. sent a letter to all parents in the district, informing them the district has hired Transworld Systems, a Delaware-based debt collector, to recover tens of thousands of dollars owed for school lunches

The school district located in suburban Providence, Rhode Island, serves approximately 11,000 students in 24 schools with grades pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade. The district reported its 2018-19 budget at $157,579,491. The district allocates approximately $5,572 per pupil for instructional expenses.

Under the existing school lunch policy, parents are encouraged to prepay for lunches or to pay in cash on a daily basis. Children who didn’t pay were given meals and asked to make reimbursement within two days. Households that qualify for reduced or free lunch programs were asked to apply for the program.

“Once a student has charged five (5) meals (middle\high school $16.25 & elementary $12.50) and no payment has been received, that student will receive a lunch consisting of a sunny butter sandwich, fruit, and milk in place of a hot lunch,” according to the school policy cited on its website.

“This meal maintains the USDA standards surrounding reimbursable meals and will be charged at full price to the student’s account.”

According to WPRI.com, a news website affiliated with a Cranston-area television station which first reported the school lunch story, Votto said the district turned more aggressive in collecting for the meals after failing repeatedly to persuade parents to pay for school lunches that their children had already eaten. Votto said in the letter to parents that the school district wrote off $95,508 in unpaid lunches from September 2016 through June 2018.

Now, some three months into the 2018-19 school year, the district’s unpaid lunch balance is $45,859. “In the past, the school district has attempted to collect unpaid lunch balances without much success,” Votto wrote. “The District lunch program cannot continue to lose revenue.”

Transworld is expected to begin dunning Cranston parents next month. If parents continue not to pay up, the collection agency will report them to national credit bureaus and the delinquencies will show up on their credit reports.

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0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-12-10 15:13
Americans are losing the ability to feed their children. This is a nationwide problem, not just Rhode Island.

1. 62% of teachers say children are coming to their classes hungry.

2. 1 in 6 children face hunger every day.

3. 18% of kids are food insecure; that is, they are not sure where their meals will come from


Why is this? The answer is simple. The US spends a trillion dollars a year on its empire. As neo-cons rev up a new cold war against Russia and China, that amount spent till rise to 2 trillion a year. People cannot pay any more taxes. The middle class is being taxed out of existence. We are in a classic "guns or butter" dilemma. If we are going to have the guns that the neo-cons want, then we will have to allow a percentage of our population to starve. That's always how it is with empires.

Personally, I blame Robert Mueller and the Russiagaters for the rise of the New Cold War and the necessary consequence of starving children. If the FBI/CIA/DOJ/MI6 had the honesty to admit that the Russia collusion claim was a campaign dirty trick they invented, maybe we would be on a path to good relations with Russia and China. Mueller and his Probers really don't give a shit. They have plenty to eat. They want the cold war because it transfers money from kid's lunches to their friends in the weapons making corporations. Comey worked for Locheed Martin and Mueller steered a huge FBI contract to him. They each got millions in "finder's fees."
 
 
0 # johnescher 2018-12-10 17:22
No, Comb Murderer, the Russian and Trump Campaign Collusion is true, so very very true, and it has nothing to with dirty tricks by the FBI, etc., as only a feeble mind at this point and long before could/can claim.
 
 
0 # Glen 2018-12-11 07:42
Stick to the subject, Rodion: hungry children and families. Yes, the health of the country is being cast aside in favor of politics, corporations, and the wealthy and propositions such as spending billions on a border wall. I was a teacher and know how families and children suffer and go hungry. Can't blame it on the Mueller investigations.