WASB reviews lunch policy

The Williamsport Area School Board was given on overview of a change to the district’s Charged Meal Policy Tuesday.

Dr. Don Adams, assistant superintendent, and Patrick Tague, food service manager, explained that a change in policy could be implemented during the current year, but definitely will take place during the 2013-14 school year. Under the change, students in grades nine through 12 would be able to charge up to the cost of one meal. Students in grades four through eight can charge up to $10.

Kindergarten students through third grade would be given an alternate meal if carrying a negative balance of at least $10. Grades four through 12 would be given a sandwich. All costs of the meals would be added to the students’ accounts.

“The overall philosophy of (the policy) is we have to be fiscally responsible,” Adams said.

If a student’s account does have a negative balance, letters, emails and phone calls would be made to parents to notify them of the debt.

Adams added that negative balances are not forgiven after each school year and must be paid. A diploma could be withheld if debts are not paid.

“A debt accrued in kindergarten, really, follows them their entire career,” Adams said.

Tague said that most problems with negative balances occur because parents do not understand they need to fill out an application for free or reduced lunches. Families are required by federal guidelines to fill out an application each year. A new application also must be filled out if a student transfers districts.

The policy change is expected to be approved on first reading at the board’s April 2 meeting.