Massena School District Changes Its Meal Charging PolicyPosted: Updated:
The Massena Central School District updated its meal charging policy this week, something all schools in New York state are now required to do.
The goal is prevent school districts from policies which embarrass kids who owe lunch money.
Massena Superintendent Patrick Brady says that while his district never denied students a lunch, they did give kids with debt an alternate meal as an incentive to pay.
Now that will no longer be allowed.
Brady says because debt must be washed out at the end of the school year, these policies are in essence an unfunded mandate for school districts.
"If the debt's not paid, then it has to be absorbed by the district for receiving funding, that funding, through our local tax base," said Brady.
Sixty percent of the students in the Massena district qualify for free or reduced lunch.
Brady says that while he'd love to make lunch free to all, the district does not qualify to provide that under state education department guidelines.