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.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
food snap

We started a 50-member vegan team in response to students expressing the need for more vegan options. Between our monthly meetings, students are asked to take photos of foods they eat in and out of the dining halls to give us a true picture of the kinds of things they like and the kinds of foods that cause disappointment. This exercise has sparked a lot of conversation and given us more insight into what we could do better.

Ideas and Innovation
hybrid worker

Some of our employees can work four 10-hour days. It’s really helped with balance. We’ve also created a lot of hybrid positions, such as a personal services assistant and foodservice worker role. It allows workers to pick up more shifts and cover both positions.

Ideas and Innovation
cheeseburger

We set up an interactive collaboration with our dietetics department where students worked with our culinary team to test how recipes are imagined and produced. One of the recipes they came up with was a barbecue tempeh sandwich, which they believed was a great option for vegan students across campus. We added the sandwich to our On the Go program and then expanded it to our vegan station on campus due to its success.

Ideas and Innovation
salad bowl

We have reorganized our salad bars to not only include the traditional DIY salad ingredients, but also several daily entree salads. Our students requested 32-ounce heavy glass salad bowls that have been wildly popular. The big bowls allow students to load up on their favorite salads and customize with additional ingredients from around the servery. We have seen a significant surge in usage that cuts across all groups, including athletes.

FSD Resources