Columbus schools' meal program lost $1.75 million last year

Unpaid meal debt accounts for $300,000.

July 29—Columbus City Schools’ foodservice program lost $1.75 million this past school year, including about $300,000 in uncollected debt from students who were required to pay for meals but didn’t.

The deficit has the district considering a new federal program that would require it to serve free lunches and breakfasts to every student, regardless of income, to possibly lose less money, Food Service Director Joe Brown told the district Audit Committee yesterday evening.

Despite losing money again — a problem for the food-service program year after year — the program made progress. Brown had projected that his department would lose $2.12 million during the 2012-13 school year, so the actual result was about $370,000 better than expected.