STANFORD - Lincoln County's school Food Service Program was losing money last school year with each scoop of mashed potatoes. When students' lunch and breakfast debts totaled that of a cook's salary, Food Service Director Janet Jacobs had to take definitive measures to stem the abuse of cafeteria credit and recoup the board's losses.
Last school year, Jacobs filed small claims suits in district court against 24 families with cafeteria fees of more than $100, a total of more than $15,000. It was a wake-up call Jacobs said she had to make after months of unanswered letters and exhausted options.
"Starting usually no later than the first of September, we start sending out charge notices to everybody every two weeks, when their charge amount is over $10," said Jacobs. When the amount is over $100, she sends a certified letter giving parents the option of signing up for the free and reduced lunch program, setting up a payment plan with the school, or paying the charges.