District should answer lunch questions

Published 12:01am Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Natchez Adams School District has found itself in a bit of a pickle over, of all things, lunch money.

The district recently discovered it owes the state more than $100,000 in lunch money. That’s just for the unpaid lunches over the past year and a half.

What may have started off as an innocent practice — allowing students to charge the cost of lunch at the district’s cafeterias — has resulted in a big financial burden on an already cash-strapped district.

The problem originated, Natchez-Adams Superintendent Frederick Hill said last week, as early as 2004. If that’s the case and the amount of meals charged has been relatively consistent through the years, the total bill would top $500,000.

Apparently, the state is willing to forgive the previous years of bills, however, though we’re not certain we understand why it would.

Since the great majority of the district’s students qualify for free or reduced lunch costs, perhaps the original thinking was that simply allowing all to charge was easier than having someone be paid to handle the small amount of money that would be collected?

Or perhaps the thought was that it would be more fair to all to have their not appear to be a “haves” and “have nots” in the lunch line.

Regardless, we applaud Hill for stating unequivocally that the money must be paid back. Further, we urge the school board publicly to explain how the mess happened in the first place and what’s being done to prevent it in the future.

No one wants to imagine a child going without food — and they shouldn’t be allowed to do so — but parents should be held responsible for finding the required lunch money. But the parents should be held accountable by a school district that carefully watches its Ps and Qs.

  • Anonymous

    Third paragraph from bottom – “their”………….

  • Anonymous

    if you can’t feed ‘em, don’t breed ‘em. There is no “free” lunch and breakfast. It’ll become dinner soon enough. I hope the ND will stay on top of how that bill gets paid….

  • Anonymous

    I feel the message that meals should be paid for by the parent(s) should apply to the other 95% also. PB&J sandwichs are cheap enough for them to bring from home if necessary, those food stamps buy a lot of PB. This seems to be a doubling of food stamp benefits, feed the kids at school and provide the stamps for home meals.

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    I feel that the Adams county school board should be held responsible for paying this food bill for other citizens and myself have brought this up for over ten years at meeting mostly when they are raising our property taxes!! This is why we need a elected school board for these people knew what was going on for they are too powerful to be able to raise our taxes !! They all ways told the crowd that the head cafeteria person made the call after parent fills out a form to see if they qualify!! The system is broke and Hill is working with some soaring turkeys but ND please keep us informed on how they are going to pay this food debt which will be interesting and don’t forget please for the taxpayer wants to know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Is this another not collecting 4 million dollars county court fines and the 3 million in uncollected trash unpaid bills simple shows these so call leaders need to be replaced as well as others!!!!This needs to be done ASAP!!!

  • Anonymous

    So sad because it should be disgraceful to punish a child by withholding a hot meal (usually the only hot meal they get) because they have irresponsible parents.

    I agree the school board should be held accountable for letting it go this far. However, in Vidalia, the school by the bridge offers Free lunch during the summer!! Explain how THAT is possible … To the Natchez schools.

    Also I sure notice how the children line up in the snack line to buy snacks and that’s cash only…. Hmmmm? The money is there, the children are not being taught responsibility with it though.

  • Anonymous

    Definitely need a new editor or proofreader here or maybe even new software at the ND would help … But it’s everywhere these days.. Nobody seems to take pride in what they do anymore :(

  • Anonymous

    It’s amazing, the system must have double standards for some people. I recall when and if my child owed a few dollars for meals, we were called and told to send a check. He never owed more than twenty dollars at one time. We always cleared his bill, and many times he simply forgot to give them the check.I am really bewildered that people in authority could let a bill get this high. Where is the accountability and the system of check and balance?