Parents could face bill collection under new district policy

Virginia Beach’s new unpaid lunch policy, if approved, would send bill collectors after unpaid accounts.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va.—Parents who don't pay school lunch bills in Virginia Beach could soon face serious consequences.

The school board will vote on a policy change that would allow city collectors to target parents racking up school lunch debt.
“The reality is that parents are responsible. Now, it is a better system to make sure that’s happening,” school board member Joel McDonald said.

Current school lunch policy: The board seeks to encourage families to pay whatever they reasonably can toward the price of the meal.

Proposed policy change: Parents/legal guardians are responsible for payment of the paid or reduced cost of the meal. The school division will submit all uncollected balances to the City of Virginia Beach for collection.

According to school board member Dan Edwards, school leaders have collected lunch debt in the past, but they need to officially change the policy. He explained turning bills over to city collectors is a last resort.  Parents who don’t pay will get warnings and school officials will try to work out payments with them.

School officials said since unpaid lunch bills are carried over, the city will submit payment notices to guardians of students who owe more than $20 – regardless of what year that amount stems from.

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