In continuing coverage, the Minot School board held a special meeting Thursday to hear from the public about the recent update.
The three biggest changes that had people concerned were: excluding a student from fee-based activities because of their lunch debt, the school district also reserves the right to refer parents’ lunch debt to collections if it isn’t paid within 15 days, and if parents continue to rack up debt, the district can report that the child is being neglected or abused.
Prior to comments from the public, board members removed the wording — excluding children from activities and reporting students for being neglected.
“I really don’t feel like that belongs in our meal charging procedure,” said Miranda Schuler, board member.
“If we have principals and counselors who are watching our children and checking for, making sure that they’re well, I don’t think we need this.”
Attorney Andrew Schultz provided his expertise in order to inform members how long it would take the district to refer parents to debt collectors. Right now, there is about $3,600 of student lunch debt.
After hearing public comment, board member Mark Lyman motioned to change the wording— referring parents to debt collectors. It was approved and one parent, we spoke with said he was happy with the outcome.
“Even after I get a judgment, I’ve got to wait 14 days until I try to collect on it. So from the time it gets to me, you’re at least 65 days from getting paid,” said Schultz. “Even if that’s the case, and you restart a lunch account with a zero balance, that’s 65 days of where they’re going to be accruing additional balances.”
“Parents are expected to pay all charges within 30 days, if they fail to do so, the district may pursue other options to receive payment,” said Lyman.
“I’m happy that they changed the policy as the community came out and made sure that they knew that that was an issue for everybody,” said Deven Mantz.
Several different organizations are coming together to help pay off that $3,600 worth of debt.