Lunch debt in local schools can be a serious concern that affects families and schools

Local News

Students in debt at school because they can’t pay for their lunches is a serious concern.

Davenport’s School District has a negative balance of $8,800.

Administrators say the debt is smaller compared to other districts.

Seventeen schools in the district qualify for the (CEP) Community Eligibility Provision. Every student can benefit if 64 percent of the students in a school get free lunches.

Coni Dobbels, Supervisor of Food and Nutrition Services at Davenport School District says, “The state of Iowa passed a bill that requires us to serve every student that is in need of a lunch. So if a student comes in and they don’t have money to pay for a meal that ends up just being charged onto their account, and that’s how we incur that meal debt.”

Eleven schools in the district don’t qualify for CEP.

Dobbels says there are programs that can help parents who may need help to pay for their child’s meal. It is income based, and that will determine if parents qualify for free or reduced lunch.

“We have wonderful managers, and cashiers at each of our schools that will help assist the parents filling out free and reduced applications. So we encourage all parents to go online and fill out an application if they are in need or at risk of not being able to pay for their child’s meal,” says Dobbels.

The district accepts donations for students who have a negative meal balance. This year they have received $1,600 in donations. If you are interested in donating, you can do that at any of the elementary, intermediate, or high schools in the Davenport School District. Donations will also be accepted at the Office of Operations. The district will then look at each individual student to see who is at most need for those donated funds.

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