Does a cheese sandwich and milk equate to a school lunch?

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by Alex Schuman

WHAS11.com

Posted on September 24, 2013 at 11:26 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 25 at 8:18 AM

SCOTT COUNTY, Ind. (WHAS11) -- A Southern Indiana school district is working with parents to solve a problem created by a federal law.

Scott County School District 2 started a new “Alternative Lunch Program,” Monday, which forces students whose lunch balance goes negative to only get a cheese sandwich and one white milk for lunch.

For years, the school went into debt and wrote off thousands in unpaid lunches.  Eventually, the school needed to tap into their general fund to cover the cost. 

The general fund pays for, among many things, teacher’s salaries.  The federal government, which helps fund the school, will not allow the school to continue covering the debt.

Instead, parents must sign their kids up for free and reduced-price lunches, or start paying the fee. 

The district's business manager, Steve Nauman, said he estimates a small number of kids could fall in the middle and not qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.

“If a child sees another child get singled out over a lunch tray, that immediately puts a target on that child’s back and all the other children are then open to pick on them as well, and it’s just not right,”  Dawn Spencer, a Scott County parent who went to the school board, said.

The school board and parents plan to start a special fund to help pay for any students that do not qualify for the free and reduced-price lunch program and cannot afford to pay out of pocket.

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