RANCHESTER — The Sheridan County School District 1 board unanimously approved a district policy that will provide students with negative lunch account balances with standard school lunches without a la carte items.
At its May meeting, the board examined the possibility of providing those students with negative balances an alternative lunch. The proposed alternative meal consisted of a cheese sandwich, the fresh fruit of the day and milk delivered as a sack lunch.
Several board members were critical of the proposed alternative lunch. Some said students would be subject to ridicule from their peers if provided with a sack lunch.
“I had numerous — probably 10 to 12 — approach me about this,” board member Mary Schilling said. “It kind of touched a nerve with some people.”
Board members agreed the revised policy approved Tuesday was well-written and a good strategy to deal with the issue. Under the new policy, automatic notices will begin after a lunch account balance becomes negative and will continue until funds are added.
Grossly delinquent balances at the end of the school year are rare, according to SCSD1 Business Manager Jeremy Smith. While the final figures from the 2016-17 school year have yet to come in, Smith does not expect any students to have significantly delinquent lunch balances.
The Cornerstone Church in Sheridan donated funds to the district to help pay for delinquent lunch balances. The district officials will meet to identify families who may be eligible to receive funds.
The policy still has procedures established to collect funds for delinquent balances.
School administrative assistants and/or the food service director will make phone calls and/or schedule face-to-face meetings with the parents to address the negative balance and determine a solution.
If repeated attempts to contact the family by phone, e-mail or other means from district administrators are not successful, the debt will be handed over to a collection agency or pursued in small claims court.
The policy does not apply to students who are in the federal free and reduced lunch program.
In other business:
• SCSD1 Superintendent Marty Kobza’s contract and benefits will not change heading into the 2017-18 school year. According to the district’s 2016-17 salary schedule, Kobza earned $133,667.
• The board voted unanimously for SCSD1 to form a virtual academy using the Acellus Online Learning program.