No-credit meal policy takes root in Mass. district

The policy allows the district to seek payments from parents while still providing lunches.

June 11—The North Adams (Mass.) School Committee believes it has found a way to collect more than $20,000 in delinquent meal accounts without bringing children into the equation.

Beginning in September, the district will enact a no-credit meal policy, allowing the district to seek payments from parents and at the same time provide lunches to children with negative account balances without stigmatizing them socially.

Food Services Director Cory Nicholas said the policy will provide students with insufficient account funds with the alternative breakfast or lunch offering, which is available daily to any student who doesn't want the daily entree. The alternative offerings are of the same nutritional quality but replace the daily entree with a "commodity" item, which costs the district less. Examples provided included: Cereal with toast, fruit of the day and milk for breakfast, and a ham or turkey sandwich with fruit, the vegetable of the day and milk for lunch.