New Jersey school district considers not serving lunch to students with $20 debt

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CHERRY HILL, New Jersey- Controversy is brewing in a New Jersey school district over the proposed school lunch policy.

The Cherry Hill School District recently suggested giving tuna sandwiches to students who owe more than $10 in lunch fees and withholding lunches for students who have more than a $20 debt.

Assistant Superintendent Joseph Meloche said the policy has been in place since 2017. Back then, the district wiped out roughly $25,000 in lunch debt and allowed all students to start with a new $0 balance.

Currently, more than 340 students have a balance of $10 or more, contributing to the district’s $18,000 debt.

Assistant Superintendent Lynn Shugars told NBC  News the district selected giving children who owe more than $10 a  tuna sandwich, “because we know that our little ones would probably very happily eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches until the end of time,” and giving the PB&Js out for lunch would not encourage debt payments. “If we don’t adhere to our policy, we’re going to be perpetually, I feel, chasing after this problem,” Shugars said.

In the event that a school district determines that a student’s school breakfast or school lunch bill is in arrears, the district will contact the student’s parent or guardian to let them know. the balance needs to be paid by ten days.   If it is not paid,  the district will contact the student’s parent or guardian again for payment and if it’s not paid within a week, no meal will be served.

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