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If enacted, this bill would allow schools to efficiently donate excess food to non-profit organizations, for redistribution on campus.
This also requires that school districts establish a grace period determined by the board of trustees of the district for a student whose meal account becomes exhausted,and to make at least one attempt each week of the grace period to obtain overdue payment from parents or guardians of the student. After expiration of the grace period, if the school district was unable to secure repayment, the district would be allowed to permit the student to continue purchasing meals or may provide alternate meals.
The bill further stipulates that if a school or district continues to provide regular meals for a student and is unable to "obtain payment for the meals from the student’s parent or person standing in parental relation to the student, the district may pay the negative balance on the student’s meal card or account using private donations solicited by the district from individuals and entities for that purpose and maintained in a separate district account."
We do not object to allowing excess foods to be donated and redistributed on campus for the benefit of students who are unable to pay for school lunches. In fact, we were neutral on this bill as it appeared before the House on second reading.
However, we do not support provisions added in the Senate committee substitute allowing the the continued running of a negative balance after the grace period ends. This teaches students the wrong lessons about finances and debt and is counterproductive to providing a quality education. For these reasons we now oppose HB 367.