Monday, August 5, 2019

How high is student meal debt?

On the Agenda for tomorrow night's school board meeting (5:30PM, August 6, 2019) is Item 5.4, Update: Meal Debt.

An attachment to the Agenda, available for public viewing, shows that this debt is "almost $242,000". This makes one wonder just who was watching the store!!!

The district is trying to collect $218,000 from full-pay families. It is not a debt of free/reduced eligible families.

How does this debt approach almost one-quarter of a million dollars???

You can view the PowerPoint program through the Agenda or by clicking on this link.

I was first reminded of words spoken by the wise Yoda. "Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try." Don't "try" to collect the debt. Collect it!!!

The district sent letters to delinquent parents on June 27 and July 18, but apparently only to those owing $100 or more. NOTE: WHAT DID IT DO BEFORE JUNE 27???

The district mailed 939 letters; 10% were returned as undeliverable. $9,137 came in on 197 accounts, but the PowerPoint presentation doesn't indicate whether those were full or partial payments. Obviously, it was mostly partial payments, because the average payment was only $46.38. What about the rest???

A third letter is being mailed today The fourth letter will go out on August 16 and informs parents that the debt will be turned over to a collection agent.

If 939 accounts owe $242,000, that's an average of $257.72 EACH. Some owe more; some owe less. All owe at least $100.00.

Only 23% (197/846) who got one of the first two letters sent any money at all.

The average payment received from 197 respondents was only $46.38 ($9137/197).

Come on, folks. If a full-pay student keeps showing up for lunch with no money, why didn't the district take action long before the balance got close to $100.00?

What's the plan to collect from the rest of the deadbeats? How many accounts have balances of $99.99 or less?

Should the district hire a bill collector (cost?) or sic a polite, well-trained employee on these deadbeats? Or maybe hire a part-time employee to contact every one of the 939 debtors with the higher balances and those with smaller balances?